Stock Market Plunges as Coronavirus Injects Fresh Worries

Major benchmark indexes slumped in Monday morning trading as the death toll of the coronavirus that originated in China continues to climb.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 400 points at market open, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite dropped 40 points and 150 points, respectively.

According to China’s National Health Commission on Sunday, about 80 people have died and more than 2,700 are infected as the deadly outbreak continues to spread beyond Chinese borders. A fifth case has been confirmed in the United States, and the virus has been identified in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, France, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam.

Industry leaders have expressed concerns about the potential economic fallout as the situation worsens, with some likening the potential impact to that of the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) crisis back in 2003.

“For many in our industry, memories are still fresh about the impact of SARS on the region and footwear sourcing as a whole,” Matt Priest, president and CEO of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, previously told FN. “We are closely monitoring the situation and will be providing resources to our members as it relates to the impact of the disease and the need to take precautions to stay safe and healthy.”

The selloff comes at the start of a busy week that promises the upcoming release of fourth-quarter GDP numbers and a key interest rate decision by the Federal Reserve. Stock markets in Australia, China, Hong Kong and South Korea are all closed in observance of holidays.

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