U.S. markets and stock ETFs plunged Friday as investors shifted out of risk assets in light of an increase in new coronavirus cases and data revealing U.S. business activity slowed.
On Friday, the Invesco QQQ Trust (NASDAQ: QQQ) decreased 1.9%, SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSEArca: DIA) fell 0.9% and SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY) dropped 1.1%.
Dragging on the markets, the IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ index of services sector activity slipped to its lowest level since October 2013 and revealed a contraction for the first time since 2016, Reuters reports.
Furthermore, the manufacturing sector also showed its lowest reading since August.
“With the stock market overvalued and extended, especially with tech stocks being overweight, when you get these negative data points, it is an excuse to take some profits,” Mike Gibbs, director of portfolio and technical strategy at Raymond James, told Reuters.
Investors may be also taking a harder look at the coronavirus contagion as the virus spreads and affects the global economy.
“I think Apple’s announcement last week is the beginning of the hard news flow,” Hugh Anderson, managing director at HighTower Advisors, told Reuters. referring to the tech giant’s iPhone sales warning in the wake of the virus outbreak.
“Not only are you seeing a break in the supply chain but also you’re seeing a break in the demand for products, which is a fundamental challenge to an already moderate global growth,” he added.
Adding to coronavirus fears on Friday, China reported a spike in new cases, South Korea revealed 100 newly infected, and another 80 tested positive in Japan. Many now warn of a slowdown in global activity if the virus continues to spread.
“It can really slow down many areas of the economy,” Dev Kantesaria, founder of Valley Forge Capital Management, told the Wall Street Journal.
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