Stocks fail to shake off coronavirus fears

The three major U.S. stock averages pull up from their session lows, but not enough to push into the green, as investors continue to worry about the spread of Covid-19.

“Markets have not done well on Fridays because we are all expecting the situation to worsen over the weekend,” Andrew Slimmon, senior portfolio manager at Morgan Stanley Investment Management told CNBC.

Earlier this morning, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the government may take “temporary and targeted” measures to help sectors most hurt by the virus’s spread, and Fed officials said they’d be willing to act again if needed to help sustain U.S. economic growth.

The Nasdaq, -3.0%, had declined as much as 3.4% early in trading; the S&P 500 falls 2.7% vs. -3.6% earlier; and the Dow reduces its decline to 2.0% from 3.4%.

10-year Treasury rally strengthens, pushing yield down 14 basis points to 0.77%.

Gold gains 0.3% to $1,672.30 per ounce.

Crude oil tumbles 7.9% to $42.28 per barrel after Russia reportedly refused to agree to extra production cuts recommended by OPEC.

The U.S. Dollar Index slides 0.8% to 96.08.

All 11 S&P 500 Industry sectors stay in the red, with energy (-4.6%) and financials (-3.3%) sinking the most; health care (-1.2%) and consumer staples (-1.3%) fall the least.

In overseas markets, the Stoxx Europe 600 closed down 3.7%, bringing its weekly loss to 2.4%; FTSE lost 3.6% on the session and 1.8% for the week; DAX slides 3.4% for the day and 2.9% for the week.

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