Global stocks are on track for their worst week since the global financial crisis, as coronavirus fears have pushed markets down for a seventh consecutive day.
The MSCI index, which tracks shares in many of the world’s biggest companies, has fallen 8.9% — its worst percentage decline since October 2008.
European stocks suffered significant losses in early trading Friday, with Germany’s DAX, dropping as much as 5% in early trading and London’s FTSE 100 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%.
China’s Shanghai Composite closed down 3.7%, bringing losses forthe week to 5.6%, the index’s worst performance since April 2019. Japan’s Nikkei ended down 3.7% and benchmark indexes in Australia and South Korea both shed 3.3%.
The coronavirus has increased fears that the epidemic will wipe out corporate profits and push some of the world’s biggest economies into recession.
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.