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  • Nasdaq Composite fell around 355 points, or 3.7%, to end near 9,221.
  • The S&P 500 dropped around 112 points or 3.4%, to end near 3,226.
  •  The DJIA lost around 1,031 points lower, a drop of 3.6%, near 27,961.

US stocks were a sea of red, swimming in a virus-induced blood-bath on Monday following a flight to safety as the contagion risks associated with the coronavirus swept through the media and impacted global commodity and financial markets heavily. 

On Wall Sreet, we saw the second-biggest daily point drop for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, or the DJIA, in its 124-year history. Monday’s selloff marks the first time all three major benchmarks each fell by at least 3% on the same day since December 4th, 2018. The DJIA lost around 1,031 points lower, a drop of 3.6%, near 27,961, leaving the blue-chip gauge down 2% for the year to date. The S&P 500 dropped around 112 points or 3.4%, to end near 3,226, leaving it 0.2% lower for the year while the Nasdaq Composite fell around 355 points, or 3.7%, to end near 9,221;  However, fueled by a positive note in the trade relations between the US and China, the index remains up 2.8% for the year to date.

The markets are very concerned for the energy sector and both the price of oil and sticks plummeted the most on Monday. The energy sector was the hardest hit sector in the S&P 500, dropping 4.7% while crude-oil futures sank to the bottom of the barrel, ending with West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery down $1.95, or nearly 3.7%, to settle at $51.43 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the lowest front-month contract settlement since Feb. 13th.

The latest on the virus in bullet points – Reuters

The coronavirus death toll climbed to seven in Italy on Monday and several Middle East countries were dealing with their first infections, sending markets into a tailspin over fears of a global pandemic even as China eased curbs with no new cases reported in Beijing and other cities.

  • The virus has infected nearly 77,000 people and killed more than 2,500 in China, most of them in Hubei. 
  • More than 3,000 medical staff in China have been infected, an official at China’s National Health Commission said on Monday. 
  • The coronavirus outbreak can still be beaten, the World Health Organization said on Monday, insisting it was premature to declare it a pandemic even though it had the potential to reach that level. 
  • Beijing warned its citizens on Monday against travelling to the United States, saying that Chinese tourists have been treated unfairly due to excessive prevention measures. 
  • Outside China, the outbreak has spread to about 29 countries and territories, with a death toll of about two dozen, according to a Reuters tally.
  • The coronavirus death toll climbed to seven in Italy with some 220 infections on Monday.
  • An air transport strike planned for Tuesday in Italy has been postponed until further notice. 
  • France on Monday blocked coach passengers coming from Milan over concerns one Italian on board might be infected, local health authorities said.
  • Ireland cautioned citizens against travelling to virus-hit parts of Italy. 
  • South Korea reported 231 new cases, taking total infections to 833, health authorities said on Monday. 
  • Hong Kong’s government warned residents on Monday to avoid all non-essential travel to South Korea. 
  • Hong Kong said it had 74 confirmed cases, up from 69 on Saturday. The death toll is three.
  • Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Iraq on Monday recorded their first new coronavirus cases, all people who had been in Iran, which raised its toll from the disease to 12 dead and 61 infected. (Full Story)
  • Afghanistan confirmed its first case, declaring a state of emergency in a territory bordering Iran. 
  • Iraq shut a border crossing with Kuwait to travellers and trade at Kuwait’s request. 
  • Qatar will ask passengers from Iran and South Korea to remain in home isolation or a quarantine facility for 14 days, Qatar Airways said on Monday. 
  • French minister said on Monday he saw no need to shut transport borders between France and Italy despite the spread of coronavirus. 
  • A third passenger from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan died on Sunday, while confirmed cases have reached 691. 
  • Greek organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic flame lighting ceremony said on Monday they have taken extra precautions for the torch’s months-long relay. 
  • The Trump administration has backed off plans to quarantine patients from the cruise ship at a federal facility in Alabama. 
  • Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund predicted the outbreak would lower China’s growth this year to 5.6% and shave 0.1 percentage points from global growth.
  • Finance chiefs of the world’s top 20 economies vowed to monitor the virus impact on global growth and act if needed. (Full Story)
  • China will intensify efforts to help cushion the blow to the economy from the virus that authorities are still trying to control, President Xi Jinping said. 
  • China’s trade council says 3,325 force majeure certificates related to the outbreak have been issued as of Feb. 21, covering contracts worth around 270 billion yuan ($38.43 billion). 
  • Vietnam’s central bank ordered commercial banks on Monday to cut or delay loan payments from virus-hit firms. 
  • Cambodia’s Prime Minister promised on Monday tax breaks to garment factories hit by supply chain disruptions from the virus and higher tariffs after the EU withdrew trade preferences over human rights. 
  • Argentine beef exports to its top buyer China fell almost a third in January due to a price dispute with importers and the effects of the outbreak. 
  • European shares suffered their biggest slump since mid-2016 on Monday and oil plunged almost 5% in reaction to a jump in coronavirus cases in Italy, South Korea, Japan and Iran.

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