Coronavirus: Chips get hammered again as CDC warns to prep for virus spread

Coronavirus fears hammered the stock market again on Tuesday including chip stocks like Nvidia, down by more than 16% from a high a week ago. (Pixabay)

*Update: President Trump will hold a news conference at 6 p.m. ET Wednesday regarding coronavirus.

Semiconductor stocks continued to get hammered on Tuesday as health officials told Americans to prepare for a possible spread of the coronavirus disease.

Nasdaq tech stocks dropped 3.8% mid-day, while semi maker Nvidia saw its stock drop by 16.6% over the past week. A larger index, the Philadelphia Semiconductor Sector of 30 semi companies, saw a 10.4% decline over the past six days.

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The advice from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Tuesday was to plan for possible school closings and work at home, should the virus spread in the U.S. 

So far, the disease is considered contained in the U.S., but the fears of market investors apparently derive from seeing the virus spread in Italy, Iran, Japan and South Korea.

“We’re going to be… preparing as if we’re going to see community spread [of COVID-19] in the near-term,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the CDC told reporters.

As of Tuesday, health officials reported 80,419 cases of the virus, with 2,711 deaths. There were 57 cases in the U.S.including many brought into the country from Japan who had been quarantined aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

*President Trump will hold a news conference on the coronavirus at 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

On a CNBC interview on Tuesday, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said the U.S. has “contained” the virus, adding, “ I won’t say air-tight, but it’s pretty close to air-tight…This is a human tragedy, especially in China…I don’t think it’s going to be an economic tragedy.”

He said underlying strengths in the U.S. economy, including low unemployment and GDP growth at 2.6% in the first quarter, should encourage investors despite the market declines of recent days. He also said the supply chain in the U.S. so far has not been disrupted significantly. “The supply disruption is not there,” he said. 

Supply disruption has been a concern for many electronics companies that depend on China for parts for devices, including Apple, the maker of iPhones.

Kudlow added he was encouraged by a recent statement from the World Health Organization to avoid overreactions to the virus.

RELATED: How coronavirus can be spread on a cruise ship

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