US SHARES yesterday kicked off the first day of the fourth quarter on a sour note, as the first diagnosis of Ebola in a patient in the US spooked investors, and the Russell 2000 index of small caps ended in correction territory. Fears over the civil unrest in Hong Kong added to the poor performance.
The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 237.74 points, or 1.39 per cent, to 16,805.16. The S&P 500 lost 26.13 points, or 1.32 per cent, to 1,946.16 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 71.31 points, or 1.59 per cent, to 4,422.09.
Shares of drugmakers with Ebola treatments in the pipeline were up sharply. Shares of Tekmira Pharmaceuticals climbed 18.2 per cent to $24.99.
The Ebola news pressured shares of airlines, with Southwest falling 3.6 per cent to $32.55 and Delta dropping 3.5 per cent to $34.90.
Small-cap stocks extended recent losses and the Russell 2000 closed more than 10 per cent below its closing high of 1,208.65 in early March, which puts the index in correction territory. It was down 1.5 per cent on the day.
The largest percentage gainer was China Green Agriculture, which rose 13.64 per cent to $2.25, while the largest percentage decliner was Centrus Energy, which fell 25.27 per cent to $7.63.
Among the most active stocks were Brazil’s Petrobras, down 6.27 per cent at $13.30, and Ford Motor, down 1.35 per cent at $14.59.
On the Nasdaq, Facebook, down 3.1 per cent at $76.56, was among the most actively traded.