UPDATED: Trading in U.S. equities markets was halted moments after the session began on Monday as a plunge in the S&P 500 index triggered a circuit breaker designed to slow another panicky selloff. The day ended in another rout, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average doing its biggest swan dive of the coronavirus selloff with a 2,997-point plummet, or nearly 13%.
The Dow fell more than 2,200 points at the start of trading at 9:30 a.m. ET. The S&P fell more than 200 points, past the 7% decline threshold that sets off a 15-minute halt to trading. The NASDAQ sank nearly 500 points, or more than 6%.
Media stocks were not immune to the downturn. Shares in major conglomerates got a respite on Friday when Disney and others logged double-digit gains after getting hammered the rest of the week. But double-digit drops seemed to be in store for most on Monday.
The market quakes are not a surprise after a busy weekend of extraordinary measures from federal, state and local governments to lockdown all but the most essential workers. Los Angeles and New York City on Sunday evening announced broad closures of bars, restaurants, cafes, movie theaters and other venues where people gather — a disruption that will have ripple effects for businesses and workers for months to come.
By the time the market closed, the NASDAQ and S&P 500 both registered 12% declines. Another $500 billion of liquidity injected by the Federal Reserve into the banking system did not calm investors nerves. ViacomCBS lost a nerve-ratting 17% to close at $13.61. Even Netflix, the company best positioned to do business at a time when millions of Americans are unexpectedly homebound, fell 11% ($298.84) while Apple shed 12.9% ($242.21). Disney (down 7.3% to $95.01), AT&T (down 7.7% to $31.81) and Comcast (down 8.3% to $36.04) held up better.