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Financial markets down from record highs on coronavirus concerns

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WATCH: Mobile World Congress organizers say cancellation about health, 'not about money' – Feb 13, 2020

Wall Street’s main indexes eased from record highs on Thursday, pressured by shares of Cisco after its disappointing quarterly forecast, while a spike in new coronavirus cases in China weighed on the sentiment.

The Chinese province at the center of the coronavirus outbreak reported a record rise in deaths and thousands more infections using a new diagnostic method, casting fresh uncertainty over the scale of the virus outbreak.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: China Health Commission says death toll at more than 1,300' Coronavirus outbreak: China Health Commission says death toll at more than 1,300
Coronavirus outbreak: China Health Commission says death toll at more than 1,300 – Feb 13, 2020

A day earlier, investors had bought on signs that the virus spread was slowing, lifting the benchmark S&P 500 and the Nasdaq to their third straight closing highs. Dow Jones Industrials settled at an all-time high on Wednesday for the first time since Feb 6.

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“The virus news coming out of China (is) a bit concerning, especially when investors thought it was all behind them,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.

READ MORE: Coronavirus cases soar in China, but a new diagnosis method may explain it

“We are also due for at least a little bit of a pullback.”

Cisco Systems shares declined more than 6 per cent, the biggest drag on the three indexes, after the network gear maker’s lackluster revenue and profit forecasts.

Technology stocks, which have surged more than 10 per cent this year, slipped 0.4 per cent. Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower.

At 9:54 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 95.16 points, or 0.32 per cent, at 29,456.26 and the S&P 500 was down 7.01 points, or 0.21 per cent, at 3,372.44. The Nasdaq Composite was down 28.81 points, or 0.30 per cent, at 9,697.15.

At 0:50 am ET in Toronto the S&P/TSX composite index was down 30.96 points to 17,801.89.

— With a file from the Canadian Press

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