UPDATED: U.S. equities markets ended the day with the biggest percentage drop since the 1987 stock market crash, with the Dow plummeting 10% Thursday amid the global scramble to address the growing coronavirus pandemic.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 2,352.60 points to 21,200.62, its lowest point since June 2017 and its biggest single-day point decline. The S&P 500 plunged 9.5%, with the sell-off leading to a 15-minute halt in early trading as per the “circuit breaker” system designed to slow panicky trading. The Nasdaq fell 750 points, or 9.4%.
Global markets were rattled by the news delivered on Wednesday night from President Donald Trump the U.S. would temporarily ban most travel from Europe to the U.S. as a means of trying to contain the spread of the virus in the U.S.
Major media conglomerates were hammered once again amid the downturn. ViacomCBS fell a whopping 18.5%, to close at $16.14 per share — down 62% year-to-date. Disney ended the day down 13%, to $91.81 per share, its lowest point since November 2016. Comcast dropped 7.8% and AT&T closed down 9.2%.
Netflix ended the day down 9.9%, to $315.25 per share, a nearly three-month low. Stocks of large tech companies also closed down sharply: Apple dropped 9.9%, Facebook fell 9.3%, Alphabet was down 8.3% and Amazon declined 7.9%.
Amid the free-fall in stocks, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York announced Thursday afternoon that it was injecting $1.5 trillion into the market via short-term loans starting with a $500 billion tranche March 12 at 1:30 p.m. ET. “to address highly unusual disruptions in Treasury financing markets associated with the coronavirus outbreak.” That action prompted a brief upturn in the markets before they continued their downward slide.
As of Wednesday, the U.S. was officially in bear market territory as the Dow has fallen more than 20% from its most recent high. The U.S. had enjoyed a stellar run of bull market conditions since May 2009, when the recovery began to kick in from the most recent recession spurred by the sub-prime mortgage loan crisis of 2007-08.