The shock from the novel coronavirus is rocking global markets for a third consecutive day.
European markets were sharply lower in early trading on Wednesday as corporate profit warnings added to fears about the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
Germany’s DAX dropped as much as 3% before recovering some losses, while the CAC 40 shed 1.2% in Paris and the FTSE 100 dipped 1.1% in London.
Losses were less dramatic in Asia, where Japan’s Nikkei 225 dropped 0.8%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gave up 0.7% and the Shanghai Composite lost 0.8%.
The declines follow a terrible day in the United States, where the Dow finished 879 points, or about 3.2% lower. The index has now lost more than 2,000 points in total over the past four trading days. The S&P 500 closed down 3% on Tuesday, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 2.8%. US futures point to a lower open for stocks on Wednesday.
Investors are concerned about how the coronavirus is weighing on consumer demand, manufacturing supply chains and major economies around the world.
The spread of the virus could cost China, the world’s second biggest economy, tens of billions of dollars in lost growth this quarter alone. Major outbreaks in Japan, South Korea and Italy underscore the risk posed to other big economies from the coronavirus.
The death toll from the coronavirus is now more than 2,700 worldwide, with the vast majority in mainland China. There have been more than 80,000 global cases. World Health Organization officials said it’s still too early to declare the novel coronavirus a pandemic — but now is the time to prepare.
The extent of the damage to several industries is becoming clearer. Virgin Australia, Danone and Diageo on Wednesday added their names to a growing list of companies that have warned about the impact that measures to contain the virus will have on their bottom lines.
Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah said the company is experiencing weak demand, an increase in cancellations and a reduction in bookings because of the outbreak. He expects the airline to record a hit of as much as 75 million Australian dollars ($49 million) in the first half of this year because of the virus.
Last week, the International Air Transport Authority warned that the hit to demand could cost airlines more than $29 billion.
Diageo, the maker of Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Guinness and Captain Morgan, said its sales could fall by as much as £325 million ($421 million) in its 2020 fiscal year. Earnings are expected to decline by as much as £200 million ($259 million).
The closure of bars and restaurants in China, as well as a “substantial reduction in banqueting” has caused “significant disruption” since the end of January, the drinks maker said.
Food maker Danone said in an earnings report that it expects first quarter sales to fall by €100 million ($109 million). The company, which owns Evian and Alpro, also cut its 2020 revenue and profit outlook.
Other businesses are struggling to assess the damage. Online travel company Trip.com was due to report financial results on Wednesday, but it said in a statement last week that it would reschedule for March 18 in order to give itself “more time to observe business conditions and provide visibility for the first quarter of 2020.”
Oil prices also tumbled again Wednesday. US oil futures dropped 1% to $49.44 per barrel, while the global benchmark Brent crude dipped 1.2% lower at $54.32 a barrel.
— Anneken Tappe contributed to this report.