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Stock Market Today, Oct. 1, 2014: U.S. markets fell sharply Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average slumping 238 points and the Nasdaq shedding nearly 1.5%. The decline was triggered by disappointing economic data and airline stocks plunging over concerns about a global Ebola outbreak after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first case of Ebola in the United States in an isolated patient in Dallas, Texas.
Here's the scorecard from today's trading session:
Dow: 16,804.71, -238.19 (-1.4%)
Nasdaq: 4,422.08, -71.31 (-1.59%)
S&P 500: 1,946.16, -26.13 (-1.32%)
The NYSE ARCA Airline Index (INDEX NYSE: XAL) slipped nearly 3.1% at today's nadir. Shares of Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) dipped 3.6%, Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) shares fell 3.4%, and American Airlines Group Inc. (Nasdaq: AAL) shares fell 3%. Although travel to and from Africa is a small part of the international industry, the news provides enough uncertainty to disrupt certain portions of global operations.
Concerns about Ebola overshadowed news that an important manufacturing index slipped again in September, renewing concerns about the U.S. economic recovery. The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing survey slipped to 56.6, below the 58.5 consensus estimates from economists. In addition, weak economic data in Europe has investors on edge ahead of the European Central Bank's policy meeting on Thursday in Naples, Italy.
On the day, the S&P 500 Volatility Index (VIX), which gages fear in the market, jumped another 5% to reach 17.17 on the day.
Here's a breakdown of today's other top stories and stock performances:
- Ebola Breakout: While news of America's first Ebola patient is the reason why airline stocks fell Wednesday, the story sent shares of several biotech firms higher. Leading the charge, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp. (Nasdaq: TKMR) saw shares rise by 18% on the day. The company recently received permission from the Food and Drug Administration to test its experimental vaccines on existing patients. Meanwhile, shares of BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: BCRX) jumped more than 3.5%, and shares of NewLink Genetics Corp. (Nasdaq: LINK) added 7%. Both companies are currently testing treatments for the virus. Finally, Lakeland Industries Inc. (Nasdaq: LAKE), a manufacturer of protective clothing for healthcare workers and first responders, saw shares jump by more than 29% on the day. No matter who develops an Ebola treatment first, there's a better investment to make right now – it's a med tech leader that's already set up to treat the next major outbreak…