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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

New flu data creates sell-off in markets

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Stock markets plunged on Monday afternoon as investors pored over new estimates that indicated the economic damage from the deadly new flu virus was even more severe than earlier believed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 2 percent.

The stock market plunge came as the World Health Organization advised countries to close schools, cancel all international meetings and may even suspend airline travel. The United States has already closed its borders to international travelers coming from any of the three countries — Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — with confirmed flu cases.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed more than 430 points lower, down 2.3 percent. The S&P 500 fell 2.7 percent, and the Nasdaq composite slumped 3.1 percent.

In addition to the negative economic news from around the world, the new flu report rattled markets because companies still expect to increase their economic output by a modest 2.9 percent this year, according to the Federal Reserve Board.

Still, the new data on the health toll of the flu virus was only one factor weighing on investors’ minds. The main concern on Wall Street is that tariffs are hurting economies in Asia and Europe.

Still, analysts insist that the stock market would bounce back on Friday’s rally, when futures on the Dow and S&P 500, both tracking stocks, rose by about 1 percent.

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