• 1o-year Treasury yield sank to new low.
  • Oil prices skidded more than 10%
  • U.S. economy added 273,000 new jobs in February

U.S. stocks plummeted on Friday, finishing a wild and volatile week on Wall Street, as fears over coronavirus overwhelmed strong jobs numbers. However, equities finished well above intra-day lows due to a buying spree in final hour of trading. Treasury yields plunged to new lows, while crude oil prices cratered.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 256.50 points to 25,864.78 while the S&P 500 dropped 51.57 points to 2,972.37 and the Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 162.98 points to 8,575.62.

For the week, however, the Dow actually gained 1.8%.

Friday’s volume on the New York Stock Exchange totaled 5.5 billion shares with 515 issues advancing, 21 setting new highs, and 2,479 declining, with 711 setting new lows.

Active movers were led by Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. (INO), General Electric Co. (GE) and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD)

The yield on the 10-year Treasury plunged 23.76% to 0.706% while yield on the 30-year Treasury dropped 22.66% to 1.215%.

Oil prices plunged on Friday as OPEC+ met in Vienna, but Russians and Saudis deadlocked on production cuts. Crude oil futures dropped 9.46% at $41.56 per barrel and Brent crude slipped 0.44% at $45.47. Gold futures gained 0.22%.

President Donald Trump on Friday signed an $8.3 billion spending bill to fight the spread of the new coronavirus. Coronavirus cases have now surpassed 100,00 around the world with at least 3,383 death

S&P Global Ratings estimated that the coronavirus crisis could erase $211 billion from economies across the Asia Pacific region.

Chief economic advisor Larry Kudlow said the White House was considering “targeted measures” to alleviate the negative impact on the airline industry from the coronavirus outbreak. The Washington Post reported the White House may offer tax relief for airline, travel, and cruise industries hurt by coronavirus.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said the central bank will act again to protect the U.S. economy from the impact of the coronavirus

“We correctly positioned the policy rate given what we knew,” Bullard said, referring to the Fed’s emergency cut on Tuesday. “Everything is on the table. We are willing to do more. But we are monitoring the situation. We can meet at any time.”

The Labor Department reported Friday that the U.S. economy added 273,000 new jobs in February, while the unemployment rate clocked in at 3.5% -- the lowest level in more than 50 years.

Average hourly earnings grew by 3% over the past year, while the average work week edged up to 34.4 hours.

“The labor market held up extremely well at the start of the year with an extra boost from unseasonably mild winter weather. That resilience will help blunt the blow from COVID-19, especially as layoffs in the service sector mount,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton.

She added: “One of the largest concerns is the lack of paid sick-leave for food service workers, who could increase the risks of contamination as they can’t afford to stay home when they are sick. This is an area that fiscal policy could play a role to slow the impact of the virus on the economy, long-term.”

The Commerce Department said wholesale inventories fell by 0.4% in January after dipping a revised 0.3% in December. The Commerce Department also said the trade deficit dropped by 6.7% in January to $45.3 billion as exports fell.

“Markets have not done well on Fridays because we are all expecting the situation to worsen over the weekend,” said Andrew Slimmon, senior portfolio manager at Morgan Stanley Investment Management.

Overnight in Asia, markets finished lower. China’s Shanghai Composite dropped 1.21%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 2.32%, and Japan’s Nikkei-225 tumbled 2.72%.

In Europe markets finished sharply lower as Britain’s FTSE-100 plunged 3.62%, France’s CAC-40 swooned 4.14% and Germany’s DAX tumbled 3.37%.

The euro rose 0.66% at $1.1309 while the pound sterling gained 0.71% at $1.3042.