Stocks – S&P Remains Near Lows as Virus Death Toll Mounts

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By Yasin Ebrahim – The S&P remained near session lows Thursday as investor sentiment was soured on rising fears over the potential impact of the coronavirus on global growth and weakness in tech stocks, led by a slump in Facebook (NASDAQ:).

The fell 0.70%, while the lost 0.75% and the slipped 0.53%.

More than 8,200 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed worldwide and the death toll in China rose to 170 individuals, raising fears that a further spread of the virus will weigh on economic growth in China, which makes up about 10% of global growth.

Also, the Centers for Disease Control reported the first person-to-person transmission of the coronavirus in the U.S., which now has six confirmed cases.

Stocks sensitive to growth in China and tourism continue to give up gains.

Starbucks (NASDAQ:) fell 1.6%, Booking (NASDAQ:) slipped 1% and Carnival (NYSE:) fell 4%.

Corporate earnings provided a sliver of respite for stocks, with Coca-Cola (NYSE:), Tesla (NASDAQ:) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:) impressing, but Facebook (NASDAQ:) coming under pressure amid worries about slowing growth.

Coca-Cola reported quarterly revenue that topped estimates as the launch of new products underpinned growth, sending its shares up 2%.

Tesla, meanwhile, surged about 10% after the electric automaker topped earnings estimates and pledged to deliver over 500,000 cars for the year, well above consensus of about 475,000.

In tech, Microsoft climbed about 2% as strong growth in its cloud business boosted sales to record levels, above Wall Street estimates.

But gains in tech were kept in check by a plunge in Facebook as the social media giant’s beat on the bottom and top lines were overshadowed by a 51% surge in costs and worries about slowing growth as the company ramps up efforts to bolster security on its platforms.

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