Stocks Sink to End Worst Quarter Since 2008

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US stocks ended the month of March with broad declines Tuesday that capped the biggest quarterly drop since the financial crisis.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 410.32 points, to 21,917.16, a 1.84 percent drop. The S&P 500 declined by 1.6 percent. The Nasdaq Composite moved down 0.95 percent.

The declines in March marked the end of the longest bull market on record, defined as a period of generally rising stocks without a 20 percent drop from the 12-month high. The decline into bear market territory was the swiftest on record in decades. But this bear market ended almost as swiftly as it began when stocks rallied on news that Washington, D.C. had reached a deal on an economic rescue package.

The Dow had its worst first-quarter performance ever. Bond prices surged, pushing down yields. The 10-year Treasury yield fell 64.88 percent to just 0.674 percent in the first three months of the year, an almost spooky symmetry.

Oil posted its worst quarter ever. The economic freeze created by the attempts to contain the coronavirus has crushed demand globally at the same time a Russia-Saudia Arabia price war has kept supply plentiful.


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