UPDATED: U.S. equities markets plunged again at Wednesday’s opening after a one-day respite on Tuesday when major indices ended the day in positive territory.
As movement emerged in Congress on a relief package for American workers and businesses, the roller-coaster ride of the day ended with the major indices delivering a small rally to close at higher levels than the worst of the declines. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the day down 1,338 points, or 6.3%, to 19,898. The S&P 500 dropped 131 points or 5.1%. The NASDAQ sank 345 points, or 4.7%.
Early Wednesday morning, trading in Dow Futures was halted after that index fell more than 5% in pre-market trading. Once the bell rang at 9:30 a.m. ET, the Dow dropped more than 1,000 points, or more than 5%, while the S&P 500 sank more than 130 points, a more than 5% decline, and the NASDAQ gave up more than 330 points, a more than 4% drop.
Trading halted for 15-minutes shortly before 1 p.m. ET after the S&P 500 fell 7%, which triggered a circuit breaker stop in activity in an effort to slow the panicky sell off.
On Tuesday, the Dow was up more than 1,000 points at the close and the S&P 500 and NASDAQ closed out the session in the green. But the relief was short lived.
Shares for media and tech giants were once again hammered in the Wednesday downturn. Disney suffered a nearly 15% hit by midday but recovered to some to close down 5% to $88.78. ViacomCBS continued to be pummeled, taking an 18% hit at one point but closing with a drop of 7.1% to $11.83. Discovery declined 11% to $19.15. Comcast fell 7.5% to $35.37.
Amazon, not surprisingly, was among the rare stocks to eke out a gain, closing up 1.3% to $1,832.38 per share.
Wednesday’s market quakes came as ratings agencies and analysts are delivering a steady stream of credit watch warnings and downgrades for numerous companies hit hard by the global wave of shutdowns and cancellations, which is expected to have a ripple effect throughout global markets for months if not years to come.