NEW YORK, New York - U.S. stocks plunged again on Tuesday as fears the coronavirus could become a pandemic. The number of deaths in Iran rose to 16, while cases being detected in South Korea climbed dramatically.
The Dow Jones shed another 879 points Tuesday, taking the total to 1,910 points in two days.
The main concern is people don't know how serious the epidemic will become, and what the economic impact will be. Already there is talk the Olympics due to be staged in Tokyo in July will be cancelled.
"People are pulled to the sidelines and there's a re-evaluation of risks. They're taking a wait and see approach because nobody knows how to accurately estimate the potential near term economic impact of coronavirus," Carol Schleif, Deputy Chief Investment Officer, at Abbot Downing in Minneapolis told Reuters Thomson on Tuesday. "Markets abhor a vacuum. They hate not knowing so people are waiting to see, to give it a few days to settle out," she said.
At the close of trading Tuesday, the Dow Jones industrials were down 879.44 points or 3.15% to 27,081.36.
The Nasdaq Composite dropped 255.67 points or 2.77% to 9,965.61.
The Standard and Poor's was off 97.68 points or 3.03% at 3,128.21.
The U.S. dollar fell sharply against the Euro, the British pound and the Japanese yen, but gained against the dollar bloc.
In late trading in New York Tuesday, the euro had jumped sharply to 1.0882. The pound rose to 1.2996. The Japanese yen was sharply higher at 110.10. The Swiss franc was modestly stronger at 0.9761.
The Canadian dollar was little changed at 1.3185, while the Australian and New Zealand dollars dipped to 0.6595 and 0.6321 respectively.
On overseas equity markets, in the Uk, London's FTSE 100 dived 1.94%. The German Dax fell 1.88%.
In Paris, the CAC 40 declined 1.94%.
On Asian markets the selling was not as panic-driven as elsewhere, other than in Japan which bore the brunt of the selling. Japan's markets however were closed on Monday so they were doing some catching up.
The Nikkei 225 fell a massive 781.33 points or 3.34% to close Tuesday at 22,605.41.
The Australian All Ordinaries added to its sell-off on Monday, by dropping another 111.60 points or 1.58% to close at 6,953.80.
The Hong Kong Hang Seng closed 72.35 points or 0.27% higher at 26,893.23.
China's Shanghai Composite finished down 18.18 points or 0.60% at 3,013.05.