2 years Stocks Fall for a Third Day as Trade War Fears Renewed     

Stocks decline as tensions between the United States and China over the origin of the coronavirus renew fears of a trade war.

Stocks fell Monday for a third straight day as tensions between the United States and China over the origin of the coronavirus renewed fears of a trade war just as countries around the world began reopening their economies.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 315 points, or 1.33%, to 23,408, the S&P 500 fell 0.9% and the Nasdaq was down 0.53%.

Criticized for his handling of the coronavirus crisis, President Donald Trump again raised the idea of reprisals against China for its lack of transparency during the early stages of the outbreak.

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said over the weekend there was “enormous evidence” that the coronavirus, known as Covid-19, had emerged from a virology lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Worries that the U.S. economy was reopening too quickly – even as infections continue rising in some areas and health experts warn of a potential second wave of infections without widespread availability of testing – also curbed investors’ optimism. More than 1,400 additional U.S. deaths from the virus were reported Saturday.

Pressure to reopen only grew stronger after last week’s report that more than 30 million Americans have sought unemployment benefits over the past six weeks as the coronavirus outbreak forced businesses to shut and slash their workforces.

“The biggest risk to the stock market is a premature reopening of the U.S. economy,” said Marc Chaikin, founder of quantitative investment research firm Chaikin Analytics. If rising Covid-19 curves reemerge and economies are shut down again the damage to the stock market’s psyche will be dramatic.”

Airline stocks fell sharply Monday after Warren Buffett disclosed that his investment firm, Berkshire Hathaway  (BRK.A) – Get Report, dumped its entire stake in the country’s four largest airline stocks – American Airlines  (AAL) – Get Report, Delta Air Lines  (DAL) – Get Report, United Airlines  (UAL) – Get Report and Southwest Airlines  (LUV) – Get Report.

The airline industry has been one of the hardest hit during the coronavirus pandemic.

Buffett said the nearly $8 billion he invested in the airlines had been a “mistake,” telling investors at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting  that the airline business has “changed in a very major way” that will leave carriers more indebted and with fewer commercial passengers and “too many planes.” 

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