U.S. markets could not sustain an early uptick, losing ground throughout the day, plus more in today’s Closing Bell on Money and Markets.

The Top Story

Equities markets failed to gain any ground into the afternoon trading session today after being up this morning.

Investors remain jittery over the spread of the coronavirus after officials in New York reported they were monitoring 700 people who recently visited China. Later in the day, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state had no confirmed cases so far.

“We need to more information before markets have a further correction or get comfortable things won’t escalate further,” UBS Global Wealth Management head of asset allocation in the Americas Jason Draho said.

The fear of the virus taking hold in an American metropolitan area will only exacerbate the already entrenched market fears.

“Markets will be very jumpy until there’s increasing confidence the virus is abating and that it won’t be a global pandemic,” Draho said.

Markets started the day with some promise as all three indexes opened up in the morning. But by the afternoon, those minuscule gains were gone.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.4%. The S&P 500 lost 0.3% and the Nasdaq Composite only rose by 0.1%.

Additionally, the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield set a new record low, dipping to 1.30%, but it recovered slightly to 1.33%.

Money and Markets: Closing Bell*

S&P 500: 3,116 (-11 points, -0.3%)
DOW: 26,957 (-123 points, -0.4%)
NASDAQ: 8,980 (+15 points, +0.1%)
GOLD: $1,640.30 (+$5.70, +0.3%)
BITCOIN: $8,825.07 (-$544.02, -5.8%)
U.S. 10-YEAR YIELD: 1.33%

*- as of 4:12 p.m.

A Big Win

In this morning’s Wall Street Wake-Up we told you about SmileDirectClub Inc. (Nasdaq: SDC) and its $0.25 loss in revenue per share. The market responded as SmileDirectClub shares fell 29.3%.

Shares of Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) fell 3.7% after CEO Bob Iger announced his resignation. The company is installing Bob Chapeck, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products to fill Iger’s position. Iger is staying on as chairman of Disney’s board.

After posting a $73 million loss in its first report as a public company, Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) shares fell 15.5%.

M&A News

Blackstone Group Inc. (NYSE: BX) is acquiring British student accommodation business iQ from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) for $6.06 billion. iQ owns more than 28,000 beds across Britain with more than 4,000 in development.

Golden Nuggets

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) holding gold are reaching record highs as investors continue a press toward safe haven precious metals.

Standard Charter precious metals analyst Suki Cooper told Kitco News overall gold holdings in global ETFs are at a record 3,016 metric tons. The growth in holdings came as gold hit an all-time high Monday.

“Given the recent price action, it is likely that those gross positions continued to rise,” Cooper said. “We’ve seen most of the increase in gold exposure being expressed through futures positions or ETF holdings. Retail demand has continued to lag.”

After a brief rebound in the morning, gold futures fell 0.5% during afternoon trading. Silver futures experienced a 1.8% drop.

Platinum was down 1.9% while palladium climbed to $2,684 an ounce.

Cannabis Corner

Cannabis regulators in Massachusetts are asking the state for more money in an effort to approve more business licenses.

The Cannabis Control Commission hopes to cut the wait time for license approval to 60 days from the current 121-day average.

To do that, the commission is asking the state for $2.8 million in additional funding. The money would be used to hire 34 new full-time employees.

Since launching in 2018, recreational cannabis sales have hit over $400 million in Massachusetts.

Stock Market Update

Finnish telecom giant Nokia (NYSE: NOK) is reportedly looking with advisers to consider potential asset sales and mergers.

According to Bloomberg, Nokia shares have lost nearly one-third of their value in the past 12 months. The firm recently trimmed its revenue outlook and halted its dividend payment in October. That has put pressure on Nokia officials to find a solution.

One potential move could be a merger with fellow Scandinavian telecom company Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERIC), but that could face potential antitrust hurdles. Other technology or wireless companies could also be potential partners.

Shares of Nokia rose 6.1% in afternoon trading.

Today’s Big Winners:

TJX Companies Inc. (NYSE: TJX) +7.1%

CME Group Inc. (Nasdaq: CME) +5.7%

Gilead Sciences Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD) +6.5%

Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) +5.3%

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) +2.3%

Today’s Big Losers:

Carnival Corp. (NYSE: CCL) -7.5%

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) -8%

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: NCLH) -7.9%

United Airlines Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: UAL) -5.7%

Expedia Group Inc. (Nasdaq: EXPE) -7.1%

Check back for the most important news and numbers each day after the Closing Bell, only on Money and Markets

Don’t forget about “Marijuana Markets: a POTcast,” featuring the biggest cannabis news and investment notes from Banyan Hill’s Anthony Planas, here on Money and Markets each Saturday morning.