• Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused China of creating coronavirus in a lab
  • Trump warned some 100,000 Americans may die from the disease
  • Berkshire Hathaway dumped all of its $4 billion in airline holdings

Update: 12:05 p.m. EDT:

U.S. stocks turned narrowly mixed in noon Monday trading.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 197.6 points to 23,526.09, while the S&P 500 fell 8.84 points to 2,821.87 and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 50.17 points to 8,655.12.

In Europe markets finished lower, Britain’s FTSE-100 slipped 0.16%, while France’s CAC-40 dropped 4.24% and Germany’s DAX plunged 3.64%.

Factory orders plunged by 10.3% in March.

Original story:

U.S. stocks dropped on Monday after the U.S. accused China of having created the coronavirus in a lab in Wuhan.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 248.05 points to 23,475.64, while the S&P 500 fell 23.74 points to 2,806.97 and the Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 56.75 points to 8,548.20.

Some states in the U.S. are gradually allowing some nonessential businesses to reopen, although there is much opposition to these measures.

On Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there is a “enormous evidence” connecting the coronavirus to a lab in Wuhan, China. A Chinese Communist-controlled paper called the accusations groundless.

Last week, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said China would be held accountable for the coronavirus pandemic.

On Sunday, President Donald Trump said that while he was confident a vaccine for the virus will be found by the end of the year, he warned some 100,000 Americans may die from the disease.

More than 3.5 million cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed around the world, including over 1.1 million in the U.S. alone.

“The next two to four weeks are critical for both the economic crisis and the health crisis,” said Marc Chaikin, CEO of Chaikin Analytics. “The biggest risk to the stock market is a premature reopening of the U.S. economy. If rising Covid-19 curves reemerge and economies are shut down again, the damage to the stock market’s psyche will be dramatic.”

Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B) said his conglomerate sold all of its $4 billion in airline holdings due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“The world has changed for the airlines. And I don’t know how it’s changed and I hope it corrects itself in a reasonably prompt way,” Buffett said Saturday.

Business activity in South Africa’s manufacturing sector fell to a record low in April.

Nonetheless, U.S. stocks surged in April.

“My concern is that the market has priced in all that optimism before we have confronted the worst of the bad news on the economy and on some industries and earnings,” said Michael Jones, chief executive officer at Caravel Concepts. “There are some challenges and setbacks that are going to be hitting us in the face over the next four weeks and we are no longer priced cheaply enough to just look past all that bad news.”

Overnight in Asia, China’s Shanghai Composite and Japan’s Nikkei-225 were both closed for holidays, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng plunged 4.18%.

In Europe markets traded lower, Britain’s FTSE-100 slipped 0.14%, while France’s CAC-40 dropped 3.67% and Germany’s DAX plunged 4.25%.

Crude oil futures dropped 2.02% at $19.38 per barrel, Brent crude slipped 0.91% at $26.20. Gold futures rose 0.66%.

The euro slipped 0.51% at $1.0924 while the pound sterling fell 0.54% at $1.2425.