Public health officials have urged businesses to prepare for an outbreak in the US, a move that has triggered yet another market downturn. For investors, "it's hard to be optimistic," according to financial analysts.
US stock markets on Tuesday suffered another downturn amid the accelerated spread of the coronavirus.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 3.2%, while the tech-heavy NASDAQ dropped 2.8%. The S&P 500 shed 7.6% over the past four days following a record-high last week. European and Asian markets also extended losses on Tuesday following a brief respite from bargain-chasing investors.
Analysts said investors' appetite for risk has continued to abate following the latest developments with the outbreak. World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom on Monday urged countries to prepare for a pandemic, noting that little time remained to prevent one.
"Bit by bit, US investors are seeing the prospects for global growth diminish," said Gregori Volokhine of Meeschaert Financial Services. "With the news of the last three or four days, it's hard to be optimistic."
The market drop has been largely attributed to statements by US officials that the outbreak is likely to hit the US in the near future.
"It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen, and how many people in this country will have severe illness," said Nancy Messonier, a senior official at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC official's statement comes a day after US President Donald Trump assured his following on Twitter that containment was proving effective and would not jeopardize markets.
"The coronavirus is very much under control in the USA," said Trump. "CDC and World Health (Organization) have been working hard and very smart. Stock market starting to look very good to me!"
ls/msh (AFP, AP)