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US: Stocks fall as virus fears hit travel shares

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Wall Street stocks retreated from records on Tuesday, with tourism stocks falling due to worries about a new virus from China, and Boeing shares hammered by the latest 737 MAX delay.

[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks retreated from records on Tuesday, with tourism stocks falling due to worries about a new virus from China, and Boeing shares hammered by the latest 737 MAX delay.

Asian countries on Tuesday ramped up measures to block the spread of the new virus as the death toll in China rose to six, while US authorities confirmed the first case on American soil.

Boeing was the biggest loser in the Dow, dropping 3.4 per cent after it announced it now does not expect the 737 MAX to return to the skies until mid-2020, later than some analysts expected. The news halted trading in Boeing shares for a time, but it ended off the low point.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the session at 29,196.04, a loss of 0.5 per cent.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.3 per cent to finish at 3,320.79, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.2 per cent at 9,370.81.

Major US indices finished last week at all-time highs following the signing of a partial US-China trade agreement.

But stocks spent much of Tuesday in the red in the first session of the week following Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

The International Monetary Fund announced Monday it had cut the latest global growth estimate for 2020 to 3.3 per cent, 0.1 percentage point lower than in the prior report released in October, noting an improvement in the US-China trade picture but pointing to weakness in India.

Besides Boeing, other weak companies included American Airlines, down 4.2 per cent, the travel service company Booking Holding, down 3.1 per cent and Wynn Resorts, down 6.1 per cent.

Corporate earnings take center stage during the holiday-shortened week, with reports from American Airlines, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble due out, among others.

AFP