Intel, AMD, Nvidia, Other Chip Stocks Tumble on  Coronavirus Fears

Semiconductor stocks are sliding as investors and analysts expressed concern about how the spread of the deadly coronavirus could hurt the global supply chain.
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The semiconductor sector was tumbling as investors and analysts expressed concern about how the spread of the deadly coronavirus could hurt the global supply chain.

The VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH) - Get Report was down 4.3% to $139.21. Among the big names in the industry:

Intel declined 3% to $62.41

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) - Get Report was down 7.6% to $49.21.

Nvidia (NVDA) - Get Report was off 6.4% to $275.19.

Micron Technology (MU) - Get Report gave up 4.8% to $54.27.

STMicroelectronics  (STM) - Get Report dropped 6.2% to $28.62.

Cadence Design Systems  (CDNS) - Get Report was off 3% to $72.46.

“Markets hate uncertainty and the coronavirus represents the most uncertain macro risk markets have faced in years," said Alec Young, managing director of Global Markets Research, FTSE Russell. 

"Given how dependent the semiconductor industry is on the global supply chain, and Asia produced goods in particular, it’s no surprise it’s among the hardest hit by the worsening coronavirus outbreak.”

“The semiconductor sector is very cyclical, and if global growth slows down as a result of the coronavirus, then we’d expect revenues for those companies to drop accordingly,” said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance.

“In addition, the supply chain for most technology companies -- and especially semiconductors -- runs through Asia. And the longer factories are closed, the more impact there will be for all of those companies affected.”

Italy has confirmed 219 cases of the pneumonia-like virus in seven different regions as of Monday, with officials verifying at least five deaths in Europe's third-largest economy.

"As the virus spreads to Europe, the threat to global growth moves beyond China and the global supply chain and now directly threatens the heart of European manufacturing in northern Italy, southern Germany and Switzerland," Young said. 

"Investors are also acutely aware that many misjudged the economic severity of the virus early on, making them more open to entertaining worst-case scenarios now.”

Iran said as many as eight people have died from around 43 confirmed infections, while South Korea is grappling with a surge in weekend confirmations, taking the total to just over 800.

In China, where the outbreak originated, health officials have put the tally of confirmed cases at just over 77,000, and about 2,600 people have died from the coronavirus.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said Sunday that the virus will "inevitably have a relatively big impact on the economy and society." 

And the International Monetary Fund warned that global economic growth could be reduced by 0.1% from the virus outbreak

Zaccarelli of Independent Advisor Alliance said that "the catalyst for this worldwide selloff in equities is news of deaths in Italy and the beginning of a panic that is beginning to spread through Europe."

"Many people will die and the human toll is something that cannot be minimized or casually referred to as insignificant in relation to the amount of people who die every year from the traditional flu or even in automobile accidents," he said.

"But eventually the coronavirus will run its course and people will go back to their old routines – just like they did after the SARS epidemic, the H1N1 virus and other threats that we’ve seen before."

The trillion-dollar question, Zaccarelli said, "is whether or not the drop in global economic activity will cause the U.S. to go into recession, because anything short of that outcome will prove to be a buying opportunity in the stock market."

"It is still our belief that this threat to global growth is real and should not be ignored. [However,] ultimately we will move past this challenge and the economic expansion will continue in 2020."