Trading temporarily halted as markets plummet on coronavirus fears, oil price uncertainty

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Traders and company executives of 58.com and Essent Group crowd the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange during two IPO’s, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Ben Hider, NYSE)

#UPDATE | 10:45AM |March 9th, 2020 (ABC News) – U.S. financial markets plunged as trading began on Monday — enough to trigger a temporary halt to trading — amid fears over the economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak and uncertainty over falling oil prices.

Stock trading was halted for 15 minutes on Monday after the S&P 500 plummeted more than 7% in the first minutes of trading. The halt was caused by an automatic circuit breaker safety mechanism that kicked in to prevent a free fall amid the sell-off.

Trader Gregory Rowe prepares for the day’s activity on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, March 9, 2020.Trader Gregory Rowe prepares for the day’s activity on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, March 9, 2020.Richard Drew/AP

Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 1,800 points, or more than 7%, at the opening. The Nasdaq tumbled by more than 6%. After the halt, the Dow was down more than 1,400 points, or more than 5.5%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were off more than 5% when trading resumed.

A person wears a face mask walks along Wall Street after further cases of coronavirus were confirmed in New York, March 6, 2020.A person wears a face mask walks along Wall Street after further cases of coronavirus were confirmed in New York, March 6, 2020.Andrew Kelly/Reuters, FILE

The steep sell-off also comes after OPEC talks fizzled over the weekend and SaudiArabia slashed oil prices, triggering a price war and sending U.S. crude oil prices plunging by more than 25% — fanning even more uncertainty among investors.

Analysts urge investors to focus their gaze long term amid the market volatility.

“The guidance for long-term investors remains intact — do not panic. As the uncertainty persists, the market frenzy will continue, perhaps for weeks, perhaps for months,” Greg McBride, the chief financial analyst at Bankrate, said in a note. “But long-term investors must think in terms of years or decades.”

“The uncertain economic impact of coronavirus continues to grip markets, with stocks, commodities and interest rates all dropping sharply. Markets hate uncertainty and there is a ton of it currently in play,” he added. “Markets fall sharply, but can also rebound quickly. No one knows when that comes and you don’t want to be sitting on the sidelines when that happens.”

Daniel Ives, the managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities, reiterated that investors should “take a deep breath” and focus on their long-term goals.

“This morning with markets seeing an avalanche of selling pressuring triggering circuit breakers, we encourage investors to take a deep breath and focus on the tech winners for the next 5-10 years including Apple front and center,” he said in a note, referencing news that iPhone sales in China plummeted last month. “While this is a very nervous time for consumers, companies, investors,” he believes it is a “shock-event” and demand for iPhones in China will soon normalize.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dropped to an unprecedented low of 0.408%, a possible signal that investors are expecting a recession.


(ABC News) – Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted more than 1,200 points ahead of opening on Monday over fears of global economic fallout and uncertainty over falling oil prices.

Futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both tumbled 4.8%.

Saudi Arabia slashed oil prices over the weekend, triggering a price war and sending U.S. crude oil prices plunging by more than 25%.

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