Coronavirus fears cause dramatic fall in global stock market

A visitor wearing a face mask, amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, visits the Japan Olympic Museum in Tokyo on Feb. 26. Photographer: Philip Fong/AFP via Getty Images

The global stock market has plunged to its lowest in nine years over coronavirus fears. 

The outbreak has the potential to become a pandemic and is at a decisive stage, the head of the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

And the Bank of America is predicting the weakest year since the financial crisis of 2007.

Global stocks have plunged to four-month lows, government debt yields have sunk to unprecedented levels and crude oil extended declines. 

The MSCI All-Country World Index fell to the lowest since October, while the Stoxx Europe 600 also entered a correction.

“The way the market is going down, it’s happening pretty quickly, but it’s very difficult to say that it’s over,” said Sameer Samana, senior global market strategist for Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

“Bottoming is a multistep process and you’re probably still in step one.”

“Stocks and bonds say we’re doomed,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist for MUFG Union Bank.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, February 26, 2020. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

“Anyone who has a better idea for what lies ahead please let us know because right now the direction ahead for the economy is straight down.”

The list of companies warning of the impact of the virus has expanded to include Microsoft Corp.