NEW YORK, New York - Stocks in the states sank on Thursday due to profit-taking, and also to renewed fears about the coronavirus.
Financial markets were also influenced by the abrupt and surprising resignation of Britain's chancellor (finance minister). Sajid Javid said he was stepping down. The naming of his replacement, 39-year-old Rishi Sunak, was greeted positively with the British pound spiking higher, and bond yields falling, however stocks fell sharply.
Javid had only been in the job for 204 days on the job and was expected to deliver his first budget next month. He becomes the shortest-serving chancellor of the exchequer in fifty years.
"I suspect Sunak is likely to do whatever Boris Johnson tells him to do," Nomura economist George Buckley told Reuters Thomson Thursday. "I don't know what that means for the public finances and fiscal policy, but I doubt it will mean tighter fiscal policy."
Sterling jumped a full cent to 1.3048. The euro continued lower, closing out the day late in New York at 1.0842.
The Japanese yen and Swiss franc each drifted lower to 109.78 and 0.9793 respectively.
The Canadian dollar weakened a touch to 1.3263. The Australian and New Zealand dollars were littrle changed at at 0.6719 and 0.6442.
The Dow Jones industrials gave up 128.18 points or 0.43% to close at 29,423.24.
The Nasdaq Composite lost 13.99 points or 0.14% to last trade at 9,711.97.
The Standard and Poor's 500 fell 5.50 points or 0.16% to 3,373.95.
On overseas equity markets, the FTSE 100 in London plummeted 1.09%. The German Dax was virtually unchanged, losing just 0.03%. The Paris-based CAC 40 rose 0.62%.
On Asian markets, the Nikkei 225 closed down 64.21 points or 0.27% at 23,797.00.
The Australian All Ordinaries gained 19.30 points or 0.27% to 7,204.60.
The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 93.66 points or 0.34% at 27,730.00.
China's Shanghai Composite shed 20.83 points or 0.71% to 2,906.07.