Again undermined by the coronavirus, the star index ended down 0.98% to 25,864.78 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq drop nearly 2%.
Wall Street was hit hard again on Friday by investor anguish over the spread of the new coronavirus epidemic, which has now affected more than 100,000 people.
Its flagship index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, finished down 0.98% to 25,864.78 points.
The highly technological Nasdaq fell 1.87% to 8,575.61 points when the S&P 500, which represents the 500 largest companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange, fell 1, 71% at 2,972.37 points.
“There is clearly a sense of panic spreading,” said Nate Thooft, strategist at Manulife Investment Management. “No one can predict how severe the epidemic will be or how it will affect the economy,” he said.
Investors “are increasingly worried about how this will translate into indicators and especially into corporate results,” added the specialist.
Reflecting this anxiety, the rate on the 10-year debt of the United States fell to 0.657% during the session Friday before recovering a bit. US bonds are particularly in demand as they represent a safe haven during busy times and remain attractive compared to bonds from other countries such as Germany.
Investors were also shaken by the fall in black gold prices, the barrel of New York oil collapsing in particular by more than 10% while the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries failed to convince Russia to decrease their production.
The energy sector on Wall Street suffered brutally, the sub-index representing it in the S&P 500 losing 5.61%.
The fall in the indices should end up being halted, however, because “they have already tumbled a lot and the institutions are putting more and more measures on the table” to limit the damage, said Nate Thooft.
After the rate cut decided urgently by the American central bank (Fed) Tuesday, the American president thus ratified on Friday an emergency plan of 8.3 billion dollars to finance the fight against the epidemic.
But on Friday, neither the good figures on the health of the American economy, nor the exhortations of the American president, made it possible to completely reassure the brokers of Wall Street.
The American economy, however, once again demonstrated its strength in February with the creation of 273,000 new jobs, contradicting the expectations of economists who expected a slowdown. The unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, the lowest level in 50 years.
The US trade deficit, for its part, fell 6.7% in January as a result of a sharp drop in imports of goods from Canada and China.
Donald Trump said he was convinced that “the markets (were) going to rebound”. And he called on the Fed to cut rates further.
“Monetary conditions will be particularly attractive to fuel a strong rebound as soon as there is sufficient evidence that the worst is over,” said Thooft.
As the weekend approached, the indices in any case limited their losses in the last hour of the session.
After their worst week since 2008, and after several jagged sessions, the Dow Jones recorded a weekly advance of 1.8%, the Nasdaq of 0.1% and the S&P 500 of 0, 6%.