Stocks close historically bad quarter with losses as coronavirus derails economy

Stocks close historically bad quarter with losses as coronavirus derails economy
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Stocks took losses on the final day of the first quarter of 2020, capping off one of the worst 12-week stretches for financial markets in history as the coronavirus pandemic upends the global economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 410 points, sinking 1.8 percent on the day and nearly 24 percent since the start of 2020 for the worst quarter in its history. The S&P 500 fell 1.6 percent Tuesday, dropping almost 20 percent for the quarter, while the Nasdaq composite fell roughly 1 percent on the day and almost 15 percent over the last three months.

All three major indexes reached record highs in mid-February, just weeks before the stock market crashed as the danger of the coronavirus pandemic for the U.S. became apparent.

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There are more than 181,000 confirmed U.S. cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, resulting in at least 3,600 deaths as of Tuesday afternoon, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Millions of Americans have lost their jobs as businesses across the U.S. are forced to close or limit their services to slow the spread of the pandemic. More than 3 million U.S. adults have applied for unemployment benefits in the past two weeks, with several million more likely to follow suit.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichael Flynn transcripts reveal plenty except crime or collusion 50 people arrested in Minneapolis as hundreds more National Guard troops deployed Missouri state lawmaker sparks backlash by tweeting 'looters deserve to be shot' MORE and Congress have sought to dampen the economic blow of the pandemic with a $2 trillion economic rescue package that includes direct payments to adults, expanded unemployment insurance, and billions in aid for businesses and industries.

The Federal Reserve has also waged an unprecedented effort to keep credit flowing through the economy by purchasing hundreds of billions of dollars in securities and bonds.

Updated 4:40 p.m.