S&P 500 posts worst week since the financial crisis as coronavirus fears flare
- All major US indices tanked on Friday, pushing stock prices further into correction territory as coronavirus fears continued to roil investors.
- The S&P 500 fell as much as 4.1% before closing down 0.8%. The index suffered an 11% drop over five days - its worst weekly stretch since October 2008.
- The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 12% for the week, falling to its lowest level since June.
- The 10-year Treasury yield dropped to a new record low as more cash was funneled into the popular defensive asset.
- The market turmoil arrives as coronavirus infections climb higher. The outbreak has now killed more than 2,800 people and infected more than 83,000.
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The historically deep sell-off in US stocks showed no signs of recovery on Friday.
All major US stock indices tanked on Friday as investors continued fleeing highly volatile equities. The S&P 500 sank as much as 4.1%, while the Dow Jones industrial average tanked as many as 1,000 points for the third day this week.
The S&P 500 ultimately tumbled 11% over five days, its worst weekly drop since the financial crisis in 2008. Further, the benchmark's seven-day skid marked its longest in more than three years. The Dow absorbed a 12% weekly decline.
Coronavirus fears continue to grip investors and prompt dire warnings from public health officials. The Centers for Disease Control said Wednesday that Americans should prepare for the virus to spread further within the US. The outbreak had caused the first drug shortage in the US, the Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday night, signaling new supply chain disruptions in the increasingly critical health care sector.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell pared losses on Friday afternoon when he said the central bank is closely monitoring the economic fallout of coronavirus, and said it would act as needed to cut interest rates. White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow also attempted to inject optimism by saying investors should "buy the dip."
Here's where major US indexes closed on Friday:
S&P 500: 2,954.22, down 0.8%
Dow Jones industrial average: 25,409.36, down 1.4% (357 points)
Nasdaq Composite: 8,567.37, up 0.01%
Global markets also plummeted Friday as the coronavirus threat intensified. The Stoxx Europe 600 closed 3.5% lower on Friday after entering correction territory the day prior. It slipped 12% for the week.
Other assets experienced similarly wild price swings after Friday's open. The 10-year Treasury yield sank to a record low as investors piled into government debt. Oil fell deeper into a bear market after WTI crude plunged as much as 6.9% to levels not seen since 2017.
US stocks entered their first correction since December 2018 during Thursday's session. The S&P 500 fell into correction territory the quickest since the Great Recession, tumbling 12% over just six trading days dating back to last week. The Dow notched its biggest decline in history after falling 1,191 points.
Coronavirus has killed 2,867 people and infected more than 83,000 as of Friday morning. China has seen a decline in its rate of new cases, but soaring infection rates in South Korea, Iran, and Italy sparked new concerns about the outbreak becoming a pandemic.
The World Health Organization has strayed from officially declaring coronavirus a pandemic, but has warned the window to contain the outbreak is closing.
Economists across major US banks have adjusted their base-case scenarios to reflect the higher probability of coronavirus tearing into economic growth around the world. Strategists at Citigroup and RBC Capital Markets have alerted investors that the virus and its economic fallout could end the historically long bull market.
The outbreak could even drag the US into its first recession in 12 years, former Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen said Thursday.
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