The stock market is plunging in Monday premarket trading as coronavirus cases surge across the world and investors raise fears of a pandemic.
Dow futures tanked 795 points as of 8:30 a.m. ET, while S&P futures dropped 86.50 points and Nasdaq futures plummeted 269.25 points. Global stocks also took a nosedive: South Korea’s Kospi closed down nearly 3.9%, Italy’s FTSE MIB fell 4.7% in early trading and the STOXX Europe 600 slid 3.5% as new reports of infections outside China escalated worries about the spread of the illness that has killed more than 2,600 people and sickened about 79,500.
Outside the epicenter of China, new coronavirus cases emerged in South Korea, where authorities confirmed the seventh death stemming from the outbreak and raised the infectious-disease alert to red, its highest level, for the first time since the H1N1 swine flu in 2009.
Today in Italy, a fifth death was reported and more than 200 have been infected. (Officials had imposed quarantines and other restrictions over the weekend.) Iran’s health ministry also announced today that 12 people have died from the coronavirus and 66 have been infected.
At a meeting on Sunday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the Group of 20 major economies vowed to take action should the illness continue to disrupt global businesses. In a statement at the summit, International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva said, “This is a human tragedy, but it also has a negative economic impact.”
Many industry players, including Nike and Adidas, with operations in China have opted to shutter their outposts or reduce operating hours in heavily affected areas, leading to lower sales that are likely to hurt their bottom lines. Travel restrictions in the country have also impeded manufacturing and production time lines, while workers have been delayed in their return to factories and corporate offices.
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