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Wall Street opens sharply lower amid flight to safety

  • Fears over coronavirus spreading trigger flight to safety.
  • Financials fall in early trade on slumping Treasury bond yields.
  • CBOE Volatility Index adds nearly 5% on Thursday.

After closing the previous day little changed, Wall Street's main indexes started the day sharply lower on Thursday as heightened fears over coronavirus spreading forced investors to seek refuge in safer assets such as Treasury bonds. As of writing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.6% on the day while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite were down 0.57% and 0.43%, respectively.

Sentiment turns sour

Reflecting the dismal market mood, the CBOE Volatility Index, Wall Street's fear gauge, advanced to its highest level in more than two weeks with a daily gain of more than 4%.

Among the 11-major S&P 500 sectors, the Financials Index is down 1% pressured by the 2.8% slump in the 10-year T-bond yield. Moreover, the Energy Index is erasing more than 1.5% with the barrel of West Texas ıntermediate (WTI) slumping below $55 for the first time since early November.

On the other hand, the defensive sectors, Real Estate and Utilities, are posting modest daily gains to confirm the risk-off atmosphere.

WTI loses the grip further, approaches $55.00 ahead of EIA

Prices of the American benchmark for the sweet light crude oil are shedding further ground on Thursday and are now approaching the $55.00 per barrel.
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