NEW YORK, New York - Fears about the spreading coronavirus, which now has cases reported in nearly 60 countries around the world, has smashed equity and currency markets this week.
The Standard and Poor's in the U.S. has had its worst week since the Global Financial Crisis in 2008.
On Friday the selling continued, but the pace slowed, just a touch. It would appear though a bear market is taking hold. Long overdue, the markets globally for a long time have been ripe for a major correction, the coronavirus it would appear has now triggered it.
The Dow Jones since its peak on 12 February of 29,568.50 has now dropped 4,159 points or 14.06%.
This week alone saw the key index drop 12.36%.
The Standard and Poor's 500, which has lost 16% over the last seven trading sessions, was down 11.50% for the week. The Nasdaq lost 10.34%
.The 30-year U,S. treasury yield has dropped to its lowest level ever of 1.637%. The 10-year yield on Friday fell to 1.143%.
The Federal Reserve is closely monitoring developments and their implications for the economic outlook. We will use our tools and act as appropriate to support the economy, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said in a statement on Friday.
Some around the markets however were unimpressed. The Fed has bungled its message on the virus, has confused markets, and has painted itself into an untenable corner, Cornerstone Macro economist Roberto Perli said in a note earlier on Friday, reported by Reuters Thomson. Unless the virus is contained quickly, rate cuts in March (if not sooner) and beyond are a base case, regardless of recent comments by various officials.
The Dow Jones Industrial index lost another 356.88 points or 1.39% to 25,409.76.
The S&P 500 gave up 24.7 points or 0.83% to 2,954.06.
The Nasdaq Composite was flat, gaining 0.89 of a point or 0.01% to 8,567.37.
On foreign exchange markets the euro's recent spike higher slowed. The EU unit finished around 1.1004 on Friday in New York.
The Japanese yen was sharply higher at 108.05, after earlier 107.75.
The Swiss franc rose to 0.9647.
The Canadian dollar was unchanged at 1.3926, however the Australian dollar tumbled to 0.6483, at one point falling as far as 0.6434. The New Zealand dollar dropped like a stone to 0.6225.
On overseas markets, London's FTSE 100 plummeted 3.18%. The German Dax declined 3.86%. In Paris, the CAC 40 dropped 3.38%.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 plummeted 946.18 points or 4.31% to 21,002.05.
The Australian All Ordinaries dropped 228.50 points or 3.39% to 6,508.90.
Frenzied selling was also taking place in Hong Kong and in mainland China. At the close of trading Friday the Hang Seng was down 648.61 points or 2.42% at 26,129.93.
The Shanghai Composite, which had been down more than 200 points or 7% earlier, recovered to be down 111.03 points or 3.71% at 2,880.30.