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Global Shares Slide on Wednesday       02/26 05:54

   Global shares fell Wednesday on growing fears that a new virus' spread may 
be unstoppable, hurting global growth considerably.

   TOKYO (AP) -- Global shares fell Wednesday on growing fears that a new 
virus' spread may be unstoppable, hurting global growth considerably.

   France's CAC 40 lost 0.6% to 5,644.47 in early trading, while Germany's DAX 
fell 1% to 12,661.83. Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.6% to 6,976.95.

   U.S. shares appeared set to recoup recent losses with Dow futures up 0.3% at 
27,205. S&P 500 futures rose 0.5% to 3,147.

   Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 declined 0.8% to finish at 22,426.19, while 
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dipped2.3% to 6,708.10.South Korea's Kospi lost1% to 
2,076.77. Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined0.8% to 26,674.67. The Shanghai 
Composite fell0.8% to 2,987.93.

   Shares fell in Taiwan and most of Southeast Asia but rose in Malaysia 
following recent losses due to political turmoil.

   On Wall Street, the S&P 500 has lost 7.6% in the last four days since 
hitting a record high last Wednesday. That's the benchmark index's worst such 
stretch since the end of 2018, resulting in $2.14 trillion in losses, according 
to S&P Global. Tuesday also marked the first back-to-back 3% losses for the 
index since the summer of 2015.

   The latest wave of selling came as more companies, including United Airlines 
and Mastercard, warned the outbreak of a new coronavirus will hurt their 
finances, and more cases were reported in Europe and the Middle East, far from 
the epicenter in China. Meanwhile, U.S. health officials called on Americans to 
be prepared for the disease to spread in the United States, where there are 
currently just a few dozen cases.

   The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 879 points, for a two-day loss of 
1,911 points. Travel-related stocks took another drubbing, bringing the two-day 
loss for American Airlines to 16.9%. The large publicly traded cruise operators 
have also suffered double-digit losses.

   The worst-case scenario for investors --- where the virus spreads around the 
world and cripples supply chains and the global economy --- hasn't changed in 
the last few weeks. But the probability of it happening has risen, said Yung-Yu 
Ma, chief investment strategist at BMO Wealth Management.

   "It's the combination of South Korea, Japan, Italy and even Iran" reporting 
virus cases, Ma said. "That really woke up the market."

   The viral outbreak that originated in China has now infected more than 
80,000 people globally, with more cases being reported in Europe and the Middle 
East. The majority of cases and deaths remain centered in China, but the rapid 
spread to other parts of the world has spooked markets and raised fears that it 
will hurt the global economy.

   South Korean virus cases jumped again Wednesday and the U.S. military 
confirmed its first case among soldiers based in the Asian country, with his 
case and many others connected to a southeastern city with an illness cluster.

   South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 134 of the 169 
new cases were in Daegu, where the government has been mobilizing public health 
tools to contain the spread of the outbreak.

   The U.S. military said the 23-year-old soldier was in self-quarantine at his 
off-base residence.

   On Tuesday, U.S. health officials warned that it's inevitable the virus will 
spread more widely in America.

   "It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more 
a question of exactly when this will happen - and how many people in this 
country will have severe illness," Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for 
Disease Control and Prevention said in a call with reporters.

   United Airlines tumbled 6.5% after withdrawing its financial forecasts for 
the year because of the impact on demand for air travel. Mastercard dropped 
6.7% after saying the impact on cross-border travel and business could cut into 
its revenue, depending on the duration and severity of the virus outbreak.

   ENERGY: Benchmark crude oil shed15 cents to $49.75a barrel in electronic 
trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell $1.53 to $49.90 a barrel 
Tuesday. Brent crude oil, the international standard,shed 30 cents to $53.96a 

   CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to110.50 Japanese yenfrom 110.19 yen on Tuesday. 
The euro slid to$1.0879 from $1.0882. 


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