Wall Street trading halts as major indexes crash

Dow plunges over 1,400 points ending in bear market

Dow plunges over 1,400 points ending in bear market

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that the COVID-19 outbreak can be characterized as a "pandemic" as the virus spreads increasingly worldwide.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1,464.94 points, or 5.9%, to 23,553.22, the S&P 500 fell 140.85, or 4.9%, to 2,741.38 and the Nasdaq lost 392.20, or 4.7%, to 7,952.05.

The blue-chip index gained more than 1,100 points Tuesday. A closely watched measure of turbulence in US stocks, the Cboe Volatility Index, was near its highest level in a year.

USA benchmarks fell into a bear market Wednesday, although only the Dow was closing more than 20% off its all-time closing high in a broad selloff.

Investors are anxious about the possibility that the spread of the coronavirus could prompt a global slowdown or recession.

The BOE made its move just over a week after the Federal Reserve cut its key interest rate.

The S&P 500 dropped as much as about 2.9 percent after the opening bell while the Nasdaq composite lost as much as 2.6 percent. By that measure, the S&P 500 has experienced eight bear markets since the 1960s, according to Yardeni Research.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has had six days in the last few weeks where it swung by 1,000 points, not including Wednesday.

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The number of coronavirus cases in the US topped 1,000, while China reported an increase in infections imported from overseas, highlighting the challenges authorities face in containing the epidemic. US stocks wiped out more than all the gains from a huge rally a day earlier as Wall Street continued to reel. In the USA alone, more than 1,000 cases have been confirmed.

"And we're really seeing the same now with the coronavirus". While the EIA still sees a slight uptick in demand for 2020, the Paris-based International Energy Agency said on Monday that it now believes annual oil demand this year will fall for the first time since the global financial crisis.

Italy's government announced $28 billion in financial support for healthcare, the labor market and families and businesses that face a cash crunch because of the country's nationwide lockdown on travel.

"The package must be large enough to restore confidence, but targeted enough to provide immediate relief to where it is needed most", Mike Ryan, UBS Global Wealth Management's Americas chief investment officer, wrote in a report.

Expectations that Trump would announce "major" stimulus measures helped Wall Street claw back losses on Tuesday from a bruising sell-off at the start of the week on the back of a collapse in oil prices.

Surprisingly, U.S. Treasurys did not display the flight-to-safety that might have been expected during an exodus from stocks, as the two-year yield rose 3 bps to 0.50% and the 10-year yield added 7 bps to 0.82%.

Delwiche said he views market slumps in 2011 and 2018 as bear markets, based on the intensity of those declines, even though the S&P 500 fell less than 20%. Oil prices are down 20% and bond yields have sunk to new lows.

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