Global stock markets plummeted for a seventh consecutive day on Friday as the coronavirus continued to spread, increasing fears that the epidemic will wipe out corporate profits and push some of the world’s biggest economies into recession.
China’s Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) closed down 3.7%, bringing losses for the week to 5.6%, the index’s worst performance since April 2019. Japan’s Nikkei (N225) ended down 3.7% and benchmark indexes in Australia and South Korea both shed 3.3%.
European stocks suffered even greater losses, with Germany’s DAX (DAX) dropping as much as 5% in early trading and London’s FTSE 100 (UKX) shedding 4.4%. In Italy, where 17 people have now died as a result of the virus, the benchmark FTSE MIB index was down nearly 4%.
US stock futures were also sharply lower Friday, suggesting that the country’s three main indexes will resume their plunge after a sharp sell-off on Thursday during which the Dow suffered its worst ever points loss, dropping 1,191 points, or 4.4%. The S&P 500 suffered a similar fall and has slid more than 10% from its recent peak.