As of 3 p.m. in New York today, the Standard & Poor’s 500 was down 1.56% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was lower by 1.89%. The NASDAQ Composite was holding up better with only a 1.27% drop. The small cap Russell 2000 continued as the weakest of the major U.S. indexes with a 1.81% retreat.
Internationally, the Shanghai Stock Exchange remains closed until Monday (which means trading in China will commence while New York markets are still closed.) Yesterday I wrote that the markets would reopen in Shanghai today. That was my error after looking at a calendar of Shanghai Stock Exchange holidays. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Composite closed down 0.45% on Friday. The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) was lower by 2.21% in 3 p.m. New York trading.
Technology, financials, and energy sectors of the S&P 500 were all lower. The Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was down 2.39%. The Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF) was lower by 1.90%. And the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF had fallen 3.41% on weakness in ExxonMobil (XOM) earnings and fears that the coronavirus would lower global economic growth and demand for oil.
Many of the stocks that moved up yesterday have been hit hard today with Apple (AAPL) down 3.43%, Cirrus Logic (CRUS) dropping 5.54%, Microsoft (MSFT) falling 1.17% and Nvidia (NVDA) lower by 3.15%. Amazon (AMZN) bucked the trend on the strength of above forecast earnings. Those shares were up 8.07% at 3 p.m. New York time.
Anything even vaguely connected to China sold off too with China Southern Airlines (ZNH) down 3.00% and JD.Com (JD) off 1.83%. MGM Resorts International (MGM), which operates casino/hotels in Macao, lost 1.49%. Copper miner First Quantum Minerals (FQVLF) continued to decline, falling another 3.30% today. Copper demand is very closely linked to global economic growth and the price copper is widely regarded as an indicator of sentiment on global growth.
With all this selling, as you might expect, safe havens and hedges gained. Gold was up 0.16% to $1591.70 an ounce and silver climbed 0.21% to $18.03 an ounce. U.S. Treasuries moved up more strongly with, for example, the iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF (IEF) gaining a huge (for the Treasury market) 0.45%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.51% as bond prices rose. On January 27 the yield on the 10-year Treasury was 1.60%. The yield on the 2-year Treasury dropped to 1.33% from 1.44% on January 27.
The VIX “fear” index (VIX) climbed 21.56% to 18.83.