After the European markets were already affected by the growing fear about the spreading Coronavirus, the U.S. stocks followed and concerns are rising that the virus could endanger the global economy.
On Monday, the S&P 500 fell about 1.5%, with especially sharp declines for shares of companies depending on tourism and airlines from China. Shares of Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ: WYNN), the casino operator in Macau, dropped more than 7% in early market trading, followed by American Airlines (NASDAQ: AAL) drop of more than 4%.
The international fear of the virus’ consequences for the economy were shown, when oil prices dropped and major stock benchmarks in Europe were down more than 2%. Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index also went down by 2%, while markets in Asia were closed for Lunar New Year.
The outbreak of the Coronavirus began in the chinese City of Wuhan and counts now at least 80 deaths in the People’s Republic. While the majority of the approximately 3,000 infections were reported in China, infections were confirmed in many other countries, including France, Canada, Thailand, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, Nepal and the U.S.
China has locked down numerous cities in the area to prevent the virus from spreading and extended the current holiday of Lunar New Year by three days to limit travel in the country. The lockdown of the hot zone affects 56 million people.
The mayor of Wuhan and top governmental officials have claimed responsibility for the outbreak of the virus and offered to resign from office. They see their main fault in responding too slowly, when the virus started spreading.
The World Health Organization’s Director-General, Dr. Tedros, said in a speech regarding the Coronavirus: “WHO is working with our partners night and day in China and the other affected countries, at the regional level and here at headquarters to fill the gaps in our knowledge as quickly as possible. It is likely that we will see more cases in other parts of China and other countries. China has taken measures it believes appropriate to contain the spread of coronavirus in Wuhan and other cities. We hope that they will be both effective and short in their duration.”
However, the WHO did not declare a public health emergency of international concern, after discussing the matter thoughtfully.