Wall Street suffers major losses as markets spiral on coronavirus, oil prices

U.S. stocks on Monday suffered one of their worst trading days since the depths of the 2008 financial crisis as investors panicked over the steadily growing coronavirus outbreak and a burgeoning oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 2,001 points, a 7.7 percent dive that marked the index’s worst day percentage-wise since October 2008. The Dow also shattered its record for largest loss as measured by points, which was set at 1,191 on Feb. 27.

The S&P 500 closed with a loss of 7.6 percent, and the Nasdaq composite ended Monday with a loss of 7.3 percent.

Stocks plunged as soon as the market opened Monday after futures trading over the weekend previewed another bloody week for Wall Street. The S&P fell so quickly that it triggered an automatic 15-minute pause designed to prevent stocks from suffering rapid cyclical losses.

Futures cratered Sunday and early Monday morning after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries failed to reach a deal Saturday to curb oil output, prompting Russia and Saudi Arabia to boost production and sent oil prices plummeting.

Investors are also growing increasingly worried that policymakers have not yet done enough to protect the global economy from the a likely downturn driven by the rising confirmed cases of COVID-19 coronavirus. 

There are more than 100,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus globally, including more than 600 in the U.S. resulting in 22 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. U.S. public health officials have moved from trying to contain the virus to attempting to slow its spread and buy time for the health care system to shoulder the burden.

The gradual spread of the coronavirus throughout the U.S. has derailed the travel and hospitality industries, forced thousands of students to miss school and prompted warnings for older and vulnerable Americans to limit time outside of the home. 

“As the trajectory of the outbreak continues, many people in the U.S. will at some point in time this year or next be exposed to this virus, and there’s a good chance many will become sick,” Nancy Messonnier, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said Monday.

“The reason to stock up now is to kind of stick close to home.”

Updated at 4:37 p.m.

Tags Coronavirus Wall Street

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