KEY POINTS

  • Coronavirus cases now exceed 200,000 globally
  • The virus has been reported in all 50 states
  • Mnuchin warned the US jobless rate could reach 20% without stimulus package

Update: 1:30 p.m. EDT:

After trading resumed, U.S. stocks continued their downward spiral.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 1,941.9 points to 19,295.48 while the S&P 500 dropped 205.95 points to 2,323.24 and the Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 526.94 points to 6,807.84.

 

Update: 1:05 p.m. EDT:

Trading on the New York Stock Exchange was halted for 15 minutes after the S&P 500 index dropped 7% on the day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 1,660.63 points to 19,576.75 while the S&P 500 dropped 177.29 points to 2,351.90 and the Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 462.37 points to 6,872.41.

Crude oil futures plunged 17.44% to $22.25 per barrel, while Brent dropped 11.1% at $25.54.

Update: 12:05 p.m. EDT:

U.S. stocks continued to incur heavy losses at noon, as oil prices sank.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 1,160.37 points to 20,077.01 while the S&P 500 dropped 124.38 points to 2,404.81 and the Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 284.48 points to 7,050.31.

Crude oil futures plunged 14.43% to $23.06 per barrel, while Brent dropped 8.53% at $26.28.

In Europe markets tanked as Britain’s FTSE-100 fell 3.94%, France’s CAC-40 sank 6.03% and Germany’s DAX slumped 4.81%.

Original story:

U.S. stocks plunged on Wednesday as the total number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus surpassed 200,000, while more than 8,000 have died. Investors also mulled the impact of fiscal and monetary stimulus measures to battle the effect of the coronavirus on the economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 1,359.15 points to 19,878.23 while the S&P 500 dropped 139.04 points to 2,390.15 and the Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 422.16 points to 6,912.62.

Crude oil futures plunged 12.06% to $23.70 per barrel, while Brent dropped 2.01% at $26.72. Gold futures fell 1.04%.

U.S. coronavirus cases now exceed 6,400, along with at least 100 deaths.

On Tuesday, reports emerged the White House is mulling a stimulus package of more than $1 trillion, including direct payments to Americans and relief to small businesses and the airline industry. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also said corporations could defer tax payments of up to $10 million while individuals could defer up to $1 million in payments to the Internal Revenue Service.

“I don’t think we’re out of the woods yet in terms of liquidity,” said Mark Konyn, chief investment officer at AIA Group in Hong Kong. “It’s a question of when the fiscal measures will have the most efficacy.”

Mnuchin also told Republican senators that the U.S. unemployment rate could spike to 20% if Congress doesn’t pass the trillion-dollar stimulus package.

“When you decimate the restaurant industry, the travel industry, the hotel industry, the airline industry, the cruise line industry, obviously you’re going to take a huge divot out of economic activity,” said DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeffrey Gundlach.

Gundlach said there’s a 90% chance of a recession and added he thinks the stimulus will end up larger than $1 trillion.

“Signs are that the pandemic will be brought under control and that the economy will get enough support to weather the storm,” said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial. “Make no mistake, there will be damage. But from a market perspective, the question will be whether the damage is greater than markets now expect, or less.”

The Commerce Department said housing starts dropped 1.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.599 million units in February.

Total mortgage application volume dropped 8.4% last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, due to a sharp increase in mortgage rates.

Overnight in Asia, markets fell. China’s Shanghai Composite fell 1.83%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng plunged 4.18%, and Japan’s Nikkei-225 dropped 1.68%.

In Europe markets were lower as Britain’s FTSE-100 fell 4.67%, France’s CAC-40 sank 5.96% and Germany’s DAX slumped 5.59%.

The euro dropped 0.62% at $1.093 while the pound sterling fell 1.79% at $1.839.