March 6, 2020 / 6:54 PM / a month ago

US STOCKS-Investors flee Wall Street, seek shelter in bonds

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* U.S. Treasury yields slide, weigh on bank stocks

* Oil prices dive 8%, energy shares fall

* Indexes down: Dow 1.59%, S&P 2.22%, Nasdaq 2.55% (Updates to early afternoon)

By Medha Singh and Sanjana Shivdas

March 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes tumbled on Friday as fears of economic damage intensified with the global tally of coronavirus cases crossing 100,000, sending investors scurrying to the safety of bonds.

The S&P 500 fell for the tenth time in the past 12 sessions as the virus crippled supply chains and prompted a sharp cut to global economic growth forecasts for 2020.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and Carnival Corp fell 2% each after a report the Trump administration was considering ways to discourage U.S. travelers from taking cruises.

The rest of the travel sector gained as bargain hunters picked up battered shares of airlines and hotel operators. The S&P 1500 airlines index was up 2.6%, but was still on course to end Friday with its third straight weekly decline.

"We don't really know where the bottom is on this situation, but are very optimistic that this is not necessarily a long-term economic downturn," said Mark Doman, chief executive officer of Doman Group in New York.

Yields on long-dated U.S. Treasuries hit all-time lows, pressuring rate-sensitive bank stocks, which fell 4.5%, bringing their total decline for the week to nearly 8%.

Starbucks Corp slipped 1.5% after signaling a business hit due to fewer customers at its Chinese stores, while Costco Wholesale fell 2.2% as it said it was struggling to keep up with demand for essentials, including disinfectants.

"It's proving very difficult right now for market participants to look through another year of poor global growth and flat-to-negative earnings," said Peter Cecchini, chief market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald in New York.

Investors looked past data showing a robust pace of hiring in February and analysts said the report does not reflect the impact of the coronavirus.

Wall Street's fear gauge marked its sharpest ever increase this quarter and the benchmark S&P 500 looked set to close out the week over 13% below its record close on Feb. 19.

At 1:22 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 416.52 points, or 1.59%, at 25,704.76, the S&P 500 was down 67.06 points, or 2.22%, at 2,956.88. The Nasdaq Composite was down 222.65 points, or 2.55%, at 8,515.95.

All 11 S&P sectors were trading lower, led by a 4.5% drop in energy stocks, which tracked a near 8% slump in oil prices.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 5.81-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 4.01-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded two new 52-week highs and 138 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded nine new highs and 457 new lows. (Reporting by Medha Singh, Sajana Shivdas and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Arun Koyyur)

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