Stocks fell and bond prices rose sharply Friday on Wall Street amid signs that economic fallout from the viral outbreak that originated in China is hurting U.S. companies.
The yield on the 30-year Treasury reached a record low as investors sought the safety of U.S. government bonds. The price of gold climbed 1.7%.
The S&P 500 index fell 35.48 points, or 1.1%, to 3,337.75. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 227.57 points, or 0.8%, to 28,992.41. The Nasdaq lost 174.37 points, or 1.8%, to 9,576.59.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks gave up 17.46 points, or 1%, to 1,678.61.
Asian and European markets also fell.
New data showing manufacturing and business activity suddenly slowed this month stoked investors’ anxiety over the outbreak’s impact on company profits. New reports that infections are spreading added to traders’ jitters.
“There’s a little bit more concern about how hard this is going to impact, not just Asia, but also the broad global economy,” said Adam Taback, chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank.
Technology stocks led the selling. Retailers, travel-related companies, banks and communication services stocks also took heavy losses. The sell-off capped a volatile, holiday shortened week that left the benchmark S&P 500 index with its first weekly loss after two weeks of gains.
Investors have been trying to gauge how damaging the virus outbreak will be to corporate earnings, and whether supply chain interruptions, softer sales and other problems stemming from travel restrictions, business and factory closures in China will continue to hurt companies well beyond the first quarter.
Several better-than-expected reports on the economy helped raise optimism earlier this week that the outbreak is not having a broad impact on the U.S. economy, but Friday’s clunker from IHS Markit fueled doubts.
Preliminary data suggest U.S. business activity is