Wall Street fell at the opening on Thursday, continuing to tumble as the global growth of the coronavirus alarmed investors even more, who preferred assets deemed less risky.
Around 2:50 p.m. GMT, its flagship index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, fell by 2.42% to 26,304.36 points.
The highly technological Nasdaq fell 2.88% to 8,722.52 points, and the S&P 500, which represents the 500 largest companies on Wall Street, lost 2.54% to 3,037.35 points.
The Dow Jones and the S&P 500 were poised to record their sixth consecutive session of decline. The Dow Jones dropped more than 10% from its record high reached on February 12.
A sign of market risk aversion, the 10-year rate on US Treasury bonds continued to evolve close to its historic low, at 1.257%.
However, according to Art Hogan of National, this level is not “an indicator of a recession but rather the sign of a rush for safer assets like gold, the dollar or stocks generating high dividends”.
The US 30-year bond rate was also close to its all-time low, at 1.753%.
The New York Stock Exchange ended without clear direction on Wednesday, struggling to move forward in a market still fearful facing the epidemic of viral pneumonia: the Dow Jones fell 0.46% while the Nasdaq was appreciated by 0.17%.
US President Donald Trump wanted to be confident on Wednesday evening, saying that a large-scale spread of the new coronavirus in the United States is not inevitable.
But the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced a first case of “unknown exposure” in California, this person having neither traveled to the areas at risk nor been in contact with another patient.
More than 78,000 people have so far been infected in China, including nearly 2,800 fatally. The coronavirus also affects dozens of other countries, with an estimated 3,600 infections and more than 50 deaths.
In addition to the human toll, observers are increasingly alarmed by the economic consequences of the epidemic.
In a note released Thursday, analysts at Goldman Sachs anticipate that US companies will not experience earnings growth in 2020 if the coronavirus continues to grow.
“The downward revision of our forecasts reflects the sharp decline in Chinese economic activity in the first quarter, the decline in demand for American exporters, the disruption of the supply chain, the slowdown in American economic activity and heightened uncertainty, “they write.
Illustration of this caution, Microsoft (-3.7%) issued results warning on Wednesday, indicating that it would not meet its quarterly sales targets for Windows and its range of Surface computers because of the delays in production caused by the coronavirus.