Stocks Plunge In Wild Last Minute Sell Off to End a Terrible Week

A traders chews gum as he works during the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 19, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City. - Wall Street stocks fell again early Thursday as central banks unveiled new stimulus measures and US jobless claims showed an …
Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images

Stocks closed out the worst week since 2008 with a sharp sell-off in the final half-hour of trading that saw major indexes nearly double the declines for the day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 913.2 points, or 4.55 percent. The S&P 500 ended the day with a decline of 4.34 percent. The Nasdaq Composite tumbled 3.79 percent.

The major indexes had opened higher but fell sharply after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the state’s workforce to stay home. California had announced similar policies and Illinois did so shortly after New York.

The Dow is now down about 35 percent from its all-time high, set in February. Friday’s close was the lowest since November 2016.

Stocks have had a wild week. The S&P lost 12 percent on Monday, gained 6 percent on Tuesday, dropped 5.2 percent on Wednesday, and climbed 0.5 percent on Thursday. Even those closing total conceal the deeper volatility that most days saw, with stock prices swinging wildly up and down.

Oil prices crashed again on Friday following the news of big states shutting down. If you cannot leave your house, there’s no need to fill up your SUV’s gas tank.

Ten of the eleven S&P sectors were down, with energy the odd-ball riser. Utilities were the worst sector followed by consumer staples and real estate. With America confined to quarters, few people will be buying homes, moving into bigger apartments, or renting a summer retreat.

The only Dow stocks to rise were Chevon, Travellers, and Merck. The worst performer was Walt Disney, 3M, and Coca-Cola, which is a bit surprising since Disney and 3M stocks have been widely praised as being potential beneficiaries of America being grounded.

Bond yields fell on Friday. The benchmark 10-Year Treasury’s yield fell 24-basis points to 0.885 percent.





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