Dow falls 250 points, oil sinks to 3-yr low in end to volatile week

The U.S. 10-year yield plunged to a fresh record low

U.S. equity markets fell Friday despite the strong February jobs report, which was overshadowed by continued fears surrounding the coronavirus.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 38108.88 -332.66 -0.87%
SP500 S&P 500 5247.88 -19.07 -0.36%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 16817.458525 -103.12 -0.61%

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down more than 254 points, well off its worst levels of the session. The index had fallen by as many as 895 points. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq also trimmed losses, ending down 1 percent.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
USO UNITED STATES OIL FUND L.P. 76.57 -1.09 -1.40%

Oil slid to a 3 1/2-year low, settling around $41 a barrel level following reports Russia will not join OPEC in deepening output cuts. The volatility in the energy markets is expected to continue. As a result, Energy giants Exxon Mobil and Chevron were shaply lower.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
XOM EXXON MOBIL CORP. 113.63 -1.23 -1.07%
CVX CHEVRON CORP. 156.90 -2.14 -1.35%

Investors did however load up on gold, which settled at $1,673 an ounce.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
GLD SPDR GOLD SHARES TRUST - EUR ACC 216.70 +0.54 +0.25%

The sharp selloff in stocks caused a stampede into U.S. Treasurys, pushing yields to record lows. The yield on the 10-year note hit 0.663 percent while the 30-year bond yield plunged to 1.209 percent. Both yields ended well off their lows.

Markets saw little reaction to the February payroll report, which showed the U.S. economy added 273,000 positions as the unemployment rate slipped to 3.5 percent. Wall Street economists surveyed by Refintiv were expecting the addition of 175,000 jobs with an unemployment rate of 3.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the latest figures from the World Health Organization show COVID-19 has infected at least 95,333 people worldwide and killed 3,282. Here in the U.S., there have been 99 confirmed cases and 10 deaths through Thursday, according to the WHO.

Rock-bottom Treasury yields are slicing profit margins on lending, causing investors to dump financial stocks. Elsewhere in the sector, JPMorgan Chase shares were in focus after the firm announced CEO Jamie Dimon is recovering from emergency heart surgery.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
JPM JPMORGAN CHASE & CO. 198.11 -1.39 -0.70%
BAC BANK OF AMERICA CORP. 38.56 -0.17 -0.44%
WFC WELLS FARGO & CO. 58.75 -0.73 -1.23%
TFC TRUIST FINANCIAL CORP. 37.46 -0.29 -0.77%

Airlines were mostly higher after the more than a fifth of the group's market value, or $40.6 billion, had been wiped out, according to the U.K. based investment firm AJ Bell. Meanwhile, cruise operators fell as Carnival Corp.’s Grand Princess ship was being held off the coast of California so passengers and crew members could be tested for the virus.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
DAL DELTA AIR LINES INC. 49.90 -0.38 -0.76%
CCL CARNIVAL CORP. 15.22 -0.43 -2.75%

France’s CAC led the decline in Europe, trading down 4.1 percent, while Germany’s DAX and Britain's FTSE slid 3.4 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively.

Markets were sharply lower across Asia, with Japan’s Nikkei falling 2.7 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng sliding 2.3 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite shedding 1.2 percent.