NZX, Asian stock markets fall on news of US suspending flights from Europe

NZX, Asian stock markets fall on news of US suspending flights from Europe
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The New Zealand and Australian stock markets have posted further losses after the announcement by US President Donald Trump that all flights from Europe to the US will be suspended for 30 days. 

Trump made the announcement on Thursday saying the US needs to "keep new cases from entering our shores".

"I will never hesitate to take any of the necessary steps to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of the American people."

Trump said no nation "is more prepared or resilient" than the US.

The S&P NZX 500 fell by over 5 percent on the news while the Australian ASX 200 was down over 6 percent. 

Air NZ shares fell 4 percent to $1.72, while Auckland Airport dropped 8 percent to $7.11. 

Travel-related stocks in Australia also fell, with the sell off continuing with Qantas, down over 8 percent and Flight Centre plunging by over 18 percent. 

Elsewhere Japan's Nikkei 225 fell by 4 percent  and Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 3 percent. 

US futures dropped from -0.2 percent to -1.2 percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average in New York took a battering overnight, closing down 5 percent. 

The European stock markets were more settled overnight after the Bank of England dropped its base interest rate on Wednesday. 

The fall in the US came as coronavirus was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday.

"WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming level of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction," said Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterised as a pandemic."