Stocks backtrack from record highs over new coronavirus cases.
The Dow and broader U.S. stock market were under pressure Thursday after Hubei province reported an unexpected surge in coronavirus infections.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) fell 127.84 points, or 0.4%, to 29,423.58.
The large-cap S&P 500 Index (SPY) closed down 0.2% at 3,373.98. Six of 11 primary sectors finished lower, with industrials leading the pack. Healthcare and energy stocks also under-performed.
Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ) edged down 0.1% to end at 9,711.97.
A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX (VXX) rose on Thursday. The so-called “investor fear index” peaked at 15.44 on a scale of 1-100 where 20 represents the historic average. It would eventually settle up 4.4% at 14.35.
Equity markets were under pressure after Hubei reported an increase of nearly 15,000 coronavirus infections in one day. The unexpected surge was due to a new methodology for counting coronavirus cases. In total, China confirmed 15,152 new cases and 254 deaths in a single day.
In economic data, U.S. inflationary pressures were muted in January as energy prices declined sharply. The consumer price index (CPI) edged up 0.1% on month, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Analysts were calling for a monthly gain of 0.2%.
Compared with a year earlier, the CPI rate was a brisk 2.5%, which is higher than the Federal Reserve’s target.
Meanwhile, core inflation rose 0.2% on month and 2.3% annually, official data showed.
The Final Word: More than 60,300 people have been infected with coronavirus across 30 countries and territories, according to the latest official figures. The number of deaths from the disease has swelled to 1,370.