A television screen headlines trading on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Richard Drew/AP
Asian shares skidded again Tuesday on deepening worries over the expanding outbreak of a new virus in China.
Markets in Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China were closed Tuesday for Lunar New Year holidays, while South Korea's benchmark tumbled 3.1% to 2,176.72 as it reopened after its own holidays.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index lost 0.6% to 23,215.71, while Australia's S&P ASX/200 slipped 1.4% to 6,994.50. Singapore's benchmark dropped 2.2% and Jakarta's fell 0.5%. But shares rose in Thailand and in India, where the Sensex was up 0.2% at 41,217.00.
China has extended its national holiday by three days so that offices should reopen on Monday.
Overnight, a sell-off on Wall Street gave the Dow its first 5-day losing streak since early August and handed the S&P 500 its worst day since early October. The latest bout of selling on Wall Street came after China announced a sharp rise in cases of the virus.
"How long and how deep the correction lower will last, depends both on the success of China's efforts to control the viral spread, and the prevalence of its occurrence internationally," Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary.
Airlines, resorts and other companies that rely on travel and tourism suffered steep losses. Gold prices rose as did bonds as traders sought refuge in safer holdings.
"Over the weekend you saw more cases,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. "That got investors and traders worried that this may be a longer event. The next question is, 'What happens to global growth if this does continue and magnify?'"
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 453.93 points, or 1.6%, to 28,535.80. The Dow had been down nearly 550 points. The S&P 500 index dropped 51.84 points, or 1.6%, to 3,243.63. The Nasdaq lost 175.60 points, or 1.9%, to 9,139.31. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks gave up 18.09 points, or 1.1%, to 1,644.14.
The virus has spread to a dozen countries, including the U.S. Besides the threat to people's lives and health, investors are worried about how much damage the virus will do to profits for companies around the world.
More than 570 people have been infected with the coronavirus across China and Wuhan, the city at the centre of the outbreak, has been placed under effective quarantine.
Most European and US markets followed Asia lower after Hong Kong slumped 2.8 per cent by the close and Shanghai ended with a loss of 1.4 per cent.
The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention announced a new case of Coronavirus infection in the country, and added that the patient was stable and under medical care.
Spot gold jumped 1.6% to $1,942.45 per ounce by 0816 GMT, rebounding from a 2.5% drop in early Asian trade. US gold futures rose 0.2% to $1,949.40.
The dollar, which has held above a two-year low hit on Thursday of 92.495, was down nearly 0.1% against a basket of currencies at 93.643, after shedding gains made in Asian trading.
Brent crude was up 52 cents, or 1.2%, at $45.02 a barrel by 0648 GMT, after falling around 1% on Tuesday. West Texas Intermediate oil was up 49 cents, or 1.2%, at $42.10 a barrel, having dropped 0.8% in the previous session.
Britain officially entered recession in the second quarter after gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 2.2 per cent in the first three months of the year. The technical definition of a recession is two quarterly contractions in a row.