U.S. Stocks Dive More than 10% on Coronavirus Worries

U.S. stocks plunged Monday morning, triggering a 15-minute trading halt at the start of trading and then diving further, as investors fled risk assets amid the mounting economic toll of the coronavirus outbreak. Treasuries surged despite dramatic moves from the Federal Reserve and other central banks.

The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 11.9%, or more than 2,700 points, as of about 6:50 a.m. Pacific time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dived 11.4%. The Nasdaq sank 11.5%.

If the market reaches a decline of 13%, that will trigger another “circuit breaker” that creates a 15-minute pause in trading. If it falls 20%, trading will end for the day.

Hyper-turbulent financial markets started the week back in risk-off mode, with investors trying to assess the likely extent of the economic damage after countries around the world moved to combat the virus spread by virtually shutting down social activity.

“The market’s in panic mode,” Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist for MUFG Union Bank, said in a phone interview. “The move overnight was a shock and the market isn’t taking it as the Fed officials riding to the rescue. They’re taking it as ‘get out of the way, look out below, this could be really, really bad.’”

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