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Stocks - Wall Street Bloodbath Continues as Pandemic Fears Intensify

By Yasin Ebrahim – The S&P plunged for the second session in a row Tuesday as traders ditched stocks for safe havens, with global health authorities sounding the alarm on a "likely" coronavirus pandemic.

The S&P 500 slumped 3.03% and the Nasdaq Composite fell 2.77%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 3.15%, bringing its two-day loss to more than 1,900 points..

Energy and financial stocks were among the worst hit as traders continued to reassess the impact of the virus on global growth, with new outbreaks in Asia, Europe and the Middle East stoking fears of a coming pandemic.

"Current global circumstances suggest it’s likely this virus will cause a pandemic," Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told reporters at a news briefing.

The CDC also said the it was "inevitable" that Covid-19 would spreadin in the U.S. and that Americans would face disruptions to their daily lives. That statement pushed stocks to their lows of the day in afternoon trading.

There have been confirmed 53 cases of Covid-19 in the U.S. A spate of infections were also identified across the Middle East, including two more cases in Oman, six more in Bahrain, while in Europe Switzerland confirmed its first case.

Rising worries over global growth, stoked concerns about the U.S. economy, sending the UUnited States 10-Year Treasury yield to record low 1.307% during the trading day, pressuring financials like bank stocks lower.

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) slid 5%, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) sank 3% and JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) lost 4.4% as a fall in bond yields tends to weigh on net interest margin.

The decline in JPMorgan came even as Wall Street Bank said it expects to post a "mid teens" increase in trading revenues for the first quarter. The most recent quarterly results showed stronger trading revenue helped banks offset a slowing net interest income amid a low interest rate environment.

Energy fell 4%, paced by a decline in U.S. oil prices, which settled under $50 a barrel for the first time in two weeks on worries about virus' impact on global oil demand.

The International Energy Agency's outlook on global oil demand growth has fallen to its lowest level in a decade, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said on Tuesday, and he warned of further demand pressures due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

A mixed slate of earnings, meanwhile, did little to influence direction.

Shake Shack (NYSE:SHAK)'s (NYSE:SHAK) fiscal fourth-quarter revenue missed analysts' estimates and guidance also fell short, sending its shares down 14%.

HP (NYSE:HPQ), meanwhile, climbed about 5.6%, underpinned by fiscal first-quarter earnings that beat consensus estimates and a new plan to return capital to shareholders.

The economic front offered little comfort, as weaker-than-expected U.S. consumer confidence data raised doubts about the underlying strength of the economy.

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