FTSE 100 and other global stocks plummet again on coronavirus fears
US stocks were also sharply lower Friday. The Dow declined 950 points, or 3.7%. The S&P 500, the broadest measure of the stock market, was down 3.3%, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 2.6%.
Taken together, global stocks are on track for their worst week since the global financial crisis. The MSCI index, which tracks shares in many of the world’s biggest companies, has fallen 8.9% — its worst percentage decline since October 2008.
There have been more than 83,000 global coronavirus cases, with infections on every continent except Antarctica. The virus has killed at least 2,800 people around the world. At least 11 European countries now have confirmed infections, and health officials in South Korea confirmed 571 additional cases on Friday.
Major firms have seen a sharp reduction in demand for the products and services, especially in Asia. But manufacturing, tech and pharmaceutical industries have also seen their supply chains disrupted by factory closures in China that have limited production.
Where the outbreak goes from here is far from clear, and that’s also hammering markets and business. On Friday, IAG said that “ongoing uncertainty” over the outbreak’s potential impact and duration mean it’s not possible to quantify the total cost. Its shares dropped more than 8% in London.
The corporate warnings paint a dire picture of the effect that the coronavirus is having on some of the world’s biggest economies. Growth in China is expected to slow significantly, and other economies such as Japan and Germany could slide into recession as the outbreak compounds weakness caused by factors including the trade war between the United States and China.
Oil prices, meanwhile, are in a bear market, having dropped more than 20% from recent highs as demand has dried up. Brent crude futures, the global benchmark, have slid more than 26% since early January, and are now at $50.37, their lowest level in 14 months. US oil futures are trading near $45 per barrel — also their lowest level in 14 months — and are down nearly 29% from early January.
— Anneken Tappe and Julia Horowitz contributed to this report.