Wall St halts amid coronavirus fears
Trading on Wall Street was temporarily halted early Monday local time as US stocks joined a global rout on crashing oil prices and mounting worries over the coronavirus.
The 15 minute suspension was triggered after the S&P 500's losses hit seven per cent. The trading halts are designed to prevent panic selling. The broadbased index was down more than 200 points at 2,764.21 around 9.30am ET (12.30am AEDT).
The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 7.3 per cent to 23,979.90, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 6.9 per cent to 7,987.44.
As trading reopened, stocks tumbled further; Major indexes went down seven per cent as the Dow fell nearly 2,000 points.
The index is now on track for its biggest drop since August 8, 2011, when the S & P dropped 6.7 per cent after the US lost its coveted triple-A credit rating on the back of the debt ceiling showdown in Washington.
So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2020
The more narrow Dow, composed of only 30 stocks, was down 5.8 per cent, putting it on track for its worst day since December 2008. It comes despite three steep sell-offs which saw the Dow record its best point-gain on record last week.
Investors are grappling with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic - which has claimed more than 3000 lives and infected over 100,000 people - and an oil price war that has tanked prices.
New York Stock Exchange president Stacey Cunningham told CNN that nothing in the financial system was broken. Investors are simply reacting to the worsening coronavirus outbreak, along with a historic collapse in oil prices, according to her.
"I'm seeing markets act normally. They react to uncertainty. They respond to uncertain events. They become more volatile," Ms Cunningham said on Monday.
Global oil markets continued to plunge Monday after the implosion of an alliance between OPEC and Russia caused the worst one-day crash in crude prices in nearly 30 years. Oil has since recovered some of its losses.
Wall Street veteran and former Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein weighed in on Monday's dramatic sell-off, advising people not to panic.
Fear can take mkt lower, but expect quick recovery when health threat recedes. Esp in US, underlying economy strong, banks well-capped, system not too leveraged. Unlike ‘08, will avoid systemic damage that cud take years to work thru. Obviously, not ignoring tragic human toll....— Lloyd Blankfein (@lloydblankfein) March 9, 2020