Dow falls nearly 1,000 points as coronavirus whipsaws markets

Airlines were among the hardest hit after Southwest issued COVID-19 warning

It was another rollercoaster ride for U.S. equity markets on Thursday as California and Washington declared state of emergencies tied to the coronavirus.

Continue Reading Below

Amid heavy volatility, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid over 970 points, or 3.5 percent, one day after rallying 4.5 percent, or 1,173 points -- the second-biggest point gain in its history. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite tumbled over 3 percent.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES27896.72-80.12-0.29%
SP500S&P 5003373.43-6.92-0.20%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX11042.504225+30.27+0.27%

Thursday’s weakness comes after the number of U.S. cases of COVID-19 climbed to 129 and the death toll ticked up to 11, including the first fatality outside of Washington state. Authorities in both Washington and California declared a state of emergency because of the outbreak, which has infected at least 93,090 people worldwide and killed 3,198.

Looking at stocks, airlines were lower after Southwest said it expects first-quarter revenue to take a hit of up to $300 million due to demand destruction caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. On Wednesday, United Airlines said it would cut international flights by 20 percent and domestic flights by 10 percent and Jet Blue announced it would reduce flights and lay off staff.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
LUVSOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.34.71-0.54-1.53%
DALDELTA AIR LINES INC.28.70-0.39-1.34%
AALAMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC.13.30-0.24-1.77%
UALUNITED AIRLINES HLDG.35.81-0.59-1.62%
JBLUJETBLUE AIRWAYS11.34-0.27-2.33%

An elderly passenger who traveled on the Grand Princess cruise ship, owned by Carnival Corp., from Feb. 11-21 has died from COVID-19, and the cruise operator has said current passengers on its vessels have been quarantined until receiving clearance from medical staff.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
CCLCARNIVAL CORP.15.22+0.03+0.20%
NCLHNORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE HOLDINGS LTD.15.34+0.11+0.72%
RCLROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES58.50+1.31+2.29%

Meanwhile, drugmakers working on a treatment for COVID-19 were mostly higher.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
NVAXNOVAVAX INC.133.28+8.86+7.12%
GILDGILEAD SCIENCES INC.68.18-0.66-0.96%
INOINOVIO PHARMACEUTICALS14.39+0.64+4.65%

Elsewhere, General Motors rolled out plans for 13 new electric vehicles that are set to hit the market over the next five years. New battery technology will allow some of those vehicles to travel up to 400 miles on a single charge.

Technology firm HP rejected Xerox's latest takeover attempt, saying the $24 per share offer undervalues the company.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
GMGENERAL MOTORS COMPANY27.55-0.48-1.71%
XRXXEROX HOLDINGS17.50+0.20+1.16%
HPHELMERICH & PAYNE INC18.50-0.89-4.59%

On the earnings front, BJ's Wholesale Club reported its quarterly earnings fell from the same period a year earlier, but forecast 2020 profits and sales will see year-over-year increases.

The video conferencing company Zoom Video Communications reported better-than-expected top- and bottom-line results, but shares were under pressure as investors had expected its full-year forecast to be stronger as COVID-19 forces businesses to rely more on communications technology than travel for important meetings.

Kroger's quarterly profit topped estimates as its private-label products provided a boost.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
BJBJS WHSL CLUB HLDGS INC40.61-1.01-2.43%
ZMZOOM VIDEO COMMUNICATIONS INC.247.25+10.53+4.45%
KRKROGER34.59+0.16+0.46%

Looking at commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell to the $45 per barrel level after OPEC agreed to cut production by 1.5 million barrels per day to combat a supply glut so long as Russia joins. Gold gained 1.9 percent to $1,674 an ounce.

Demand for U.S. Treasurys drove the yield on the 10-year note down to a record low 0.914 percent.

European markets tumbled with France’s CAC down 1.9 percent, Germany’s DAX lower by 1.5 percent and Britain’s FTSE off 1.6 percent.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS

Asian markets were sharply higher with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng up 2.1 percent, China’s Shanghai Composite adding 2 percent and Japan’s Nikkei rallying 1.1 percent.