Stocks Tank on Renewed Coronavirus Anxiety, Dow Down 970 Points

Traders work during the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 5, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City. - Wall Street stocks tumbled again in opening trading Thursday on fears of a global slowdown due to the coronavirus, extending the run of volatility that …
Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. stocks and bond yields dropped Thursday, erasing most of the previous days’ gains and signaling renewed anxiety of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted by more than 970 points, or around 3.6 percent. The S&P 500 dropped 3.4 percent and the Nasdaq Composite fell by around 3.1 percent.

Losses were widespread, with all 11 of the S&P 500 sectors falling. The energy and financial sectors were the worst performers.

The Federal Reserve cut its interest rate target Tuesday by 50 basis points in an attempt to keep the economy expanding despite headwinds from the coronavirus and attempts to contain it by governments, businesses, and households.

Traders are betting that the Fed will cut rates even more. Data from the CME Group show that fed funds futures prices show no chance that the rate target holds at the current range of 1 percent to 1.25 percent at the end of the next Fed meeting in less than two weeks, around a 24 percent chance of a 25 basis point cut, and a 76 percent chance of a 50 basis point cut. The futures implied odds now favor an additional cut at the April meeting, putting the Fed target between 25 and 50 basis points. There is just under a 30 percent chance of running all the way down to zero to 25 basis points in subsequent months.

Investors have been buying up U.S. Treasuries, pushing yields to new record lows. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell below 0.9 percent for the first time ever to end the normal trading day at just above that level. In after-hours trading, however, the yi8eld then declined all the way to 0.833 percent. While that is a record, it is well above the government bonds of Germany, Japan, U.K., and France, all of which have negative nominal yields.


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