US stocks notch biggest drop since October

Wall Street’s main equities gauges fell the most in almost six months after concerns the fast-spreading coronavirus could weigh on global growth rattled markets.

The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average both fell by 1.6 per cent for their largest one-day drops since October 2. Energy, down 2.8 per cent, and technology, down 2.3 per cent, were the S&P 500’s worst performing sectors owing to their sensitivity to global economic growth.

The Nasdaq Composite, filled with growth-sensitive tech companies, fell 1.9 per cent for its largest decline since August 23.

Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, was down 3.1 per cent at $58.88 a barrel in afternoon trade in New York.

Investors sought safety in gold, which was 0.7 per cent higher to $1,582.65 an ounce, and government bonds.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury was down 7.9 basis points at 1.6012 per cent, while that on the two-year dropped 4.5bp to 1.4408 per cent.

Volatility in the US stock market, as tracked by the Vix, jumped to its highest level since early October.


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