Wall St. tumbles 4% gripped by virus fears

A market plunge to start a new month and a new quarter, picking up where the market left off after the worst first-quarter Wall Street has ever seen.

Frightful predictions on the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic weighed heavily on investor sentiment.

Investors are also worried the upcoming earnings season will be more dismal than earlier thought due to the outbreak.

The Dow, The S&P 500 and The Nasdaq closed Wednesday trade near session lows, falling more than four percent by the closing bell.

Jaime Desmond of Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management believes that for Wall Street the human tragedy brought on by the pandemic and the resulting financial fallout can't be separated.


"What we believe is that the market is very predictive and so as the higher numbers started to come in with the results of the coronavirus testing and those that were effected -the market really took that to heart. So we are expecting to have some very negative earnings returns reported here over the next couple of weeks."

Carnival was the worst performing stock in the S&P 500. It announced plans to raise nearly $7 billion in stock and debt sales. Burning through cash as the coronavirus pandemic forces trip cancellations, along with customer rebates and refunds, the world's largest cruise operator is trying to shore-up its balance sheet. The stock was punished - falling more than 30 percent in just one day.

Another big loser: property owners. The first day of the month means rent and mortgage payments are due. But with millions already out of work and many retail locations not bringing in any income - many of those checks won't be going out. Major mall operator Simon Property Group tumbled 14 percent.

Investors received another grim snapshot on the economy. Private hiring tumbled for the first time in 2-1/2 years and manufacturing activity shrank in March. In a worrisome sign, new orders for factory goods plunged to an 11-year low.