U.S. stock futures, in a highly volatile overnight session, were pointing to a mixed open Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped another 879 points Tuesday, bringing its two-day loss to nearly 1,900 points as the widening coronavirus crisis heightens concerns about the outbreak's impact on global economic growth.
Heading into the new trading day, the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq were lower for the year and were about 8% off their record highs from earlier this month. The benchmark stock measures had all gotten off to a roaring 2020 start after last year's incredible returns.
Coronavirus worries wiped an estimated $1.7 trillion of market value from the S&P 500 over the past two sessions, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices' senior index analyst Howard Silverblatt. The S&P 500 lost $810 billion in market value Tuesday, coupled with its $927 billion loss Monday. The index was down $2.1 trillion from last Wednesday's all-time high. The Washington Post reports President Donald Trump is furious that stocks are plunging, blaming dire warnings from U.S. health officials for scaring investors. The CDC said Tuesday, "We're not seeing community spread here in the United States, yet, but it's very possible, even likely, that it may eventually happen."
Coronavirus infections outside China continue to rise at an alarming rate, with South Korea reporting 169 more cases and one additional death. South Korea's total cases are nearing 1,150 with 11 fatalities. The spread in Italy remains a key concern for Europe. In China, the epicenter of the virus, it has more than 78,000 cases and 2,715 deaths. The Hong Kong government announced $15.4 billion worth of measures to support its economy during the outbreak, including a $1,283 cash payout to all adult Hong Kong residents.
Shares of Disney were falling 2% in the premarket after the media and parks conglomerate announced a CEO change late Tuesday. Disney selected parks chairman Bob Chapek as new the company's CEO, effective immediately, replacing longtime chief Bob Iger, who will stay on as chairman. Selecting Chapek over Kevin Mayer, who runs Disney's streaming services, is confusing given the company's Wall Street narrative that streaming video is the future. Those streaming efforts have worked. Disney racked up a whopping 28.6 million paying Disney+ subscribers in its first three months.
Ahead of Saturday's South Carolina primary, candidates seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination clashed in an often chaotic debate Tuesday night in Charleston. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who leads in the delegate count after strong results in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, drew attacks from his rivals. Billionaire former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who took a beating in last week's Democratic debate, appeared more steady on stage Tuesday. Former Vice President Joe Biden, whose campaign needs a boost, maintained a slight polling lead in South Carolina and predicted victory there.