Dow plummets, trading briefly suspended

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Michael Gallucci

Trader Michael Gallucci works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. Stocks are closing sharply lower on Wall Street, erasing more than 1,400 points from the Dow industrials, as investors wait for a more aggressive response from the U.S. government to economic fallout from the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (NBC) — The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 2,000 points Thursday morning after President Donald Trump’s long-awaited response to the coronavirus epidemic triggered a massive sell-off on Wall Street.

The S&P 500 plunged by 7 percent, triggering a circuit breaker, which halts all trading on the New York Stock Exchange for 15 minutes.

All three major averages sank after Trump’s Oval Office address Wednesday night failed to satisfy traders who were hoping for more concrete steps to allay any economic slowdown from the viral outbreak.

This is now the worst week for markets since the 2008 financial crisis, with trading halted twice on Thursday morning. The first time came after all three major averages sank below the 5 percent “limit down” marker in premarket activity.

MARCH 12, 202003:48

In his address from the Oval Office, Trump announced he would be “suspending all travel from Europe to the U.S. for the next 30 days” in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus. That created immediate panic as Americans abroad rushed to buy last-minute tickets home, and also fueled trader concern that suspended travel and trade between the U.S. and the European Union would come at a steep economic cost.

Travel stocks continued their double digit plunge, with airlines and hotels hardest hit.

Markets were also underwhelmed by Trump’s economic stimulus package, which offers emergency loans to small businesses, deferred tax payments for some people, but made no specific mention of paid sick leave or free testing for the coronavirus, which continues its spread across the U.S.

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