U.S. Stocks Extend Losses After Trading Halt

The global market selloff that plunged U.S. stocks into a bear market continued at a furious pace Thursday, as investors absorbed news of a travel ban between the U.S. and Europe and fear over the impact of coronavirus continued.

The S&P 500 shed 7% shortly after the opening bell, plunging the index into bear market territory and triggering a 15-minute halt in trading. The drop marked the second time this week that a rarely-used circuit breaker was triggered.

After reopening, the S&P 500 was down 7.3%, while the Nasdaq Composite was down 6.9%, putting the tech-heavy index on track for a bear market as well. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1,869 points, or about 8%.

The steep drops Thursday morning followed a tumultuous session of futures trading. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 5% before markets opened. Contracts linked to the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also hit the 5% limit, halting trading for the second time this week.

European equities also fell, with the Stoxx Europe 600 shedding 7.8%, putting the pan-continental gauge on course for its worst one-day performance in over 32 years.

On Thursday evening, President Trump announced a 30-day ban on most travel from Europe to the U.S., triggering fresh speculation about the disruption to business operations.

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Markets simply don’t know what the next steps are in terms of the virus spread,” said Edward Park, deputy chief investment officer at Brooks Macdonald. “We will see a dip in global growth in Q1 and Q2 and all the fiscal stimulus out there can’t avoid that.”

The Cboe Volatility Index, a closely watched measure of turbulence in the U.S. equity market, rose to its highest since December 2008.



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