Dow has worst day since ’87, S&P, Nasdaq hit bear market

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The S&P 500 entered a bear market joining the Dow.

U.S. equity markets cratered Thursday despite another flood of liquidity from the Federal Reserve after President Trump suspended travel from Europe for 30 days in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Allianz chief economic adviser Mohamed El-Erian telling FOX Business he sees the environment getting “even choppier.”

The S&P 500 entered a bear market down about 8 percent while the Nasdaq did as well dropping nearly 8 percent. Trading in U.S. equity markets was halted briefly just minutes after the opening bell when the S&P fell by 7 percent.

The entry into bear market territory was the fastest on record for the S&P and Nasdaq as tracked by the Dow Jones Market Data Group.

The decline was the worst since the Black Monday crash of 1987 when the index lost 22 percent of its value in a single day amid trade-deficit and tax worries exacerbated by computerized trading.

Earlier in the session, trading resumed after a 15-minute stoppage.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite’s historic bull markets that began on March 9, 2009 are over. The Dow’s bull-run ended on Wednesday. A bear market is defined by a 20 percent drop from the recent peak.

“We made a lifesaving move with early action on China,” Trump said as he explained the European ban, which excludes the U.K., in an Oval Office address on Wednesday evening. “Now we must take the same action with Europe.”

COVID-19 has infected 14,858 people and killed 702 in Italy, France, Spain and Germany, according to the latest update from the World Health Organization.

Looking at stocks, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines plunged amid worries that the European travel ban would further damage earnings already hindered by slowing demand due to the virus.

Still, “our sense is that there have already been so many transatlantic cancellations, that it may not make much of a difference,” Deutsche Bank analyst Michael Linenberg wrote in a note to clients on Thursday.

Other travel-related names, including cruise operators Carnival Corp. and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings tanked, as did online travel-booking sites Booking Holdings and Expedia.

West Texas Intermediate crude plunged to the $31 per barrel level, dragging oil majors ExxonMobil and Chevron lower. Meanwhile, battered U.S. shale companies such as Continental Resources and Pioneer Natural Resources remained under pressure.

Occidental Petroleum was weaker after activist investor Carl Icahn told The Wall Street Journal that he raised his stake in the company to almost 10 percent from 2.5 percent.

Stocks gaining ground were few and far between. Medical-mask maker Alpha Pro Technology soared after reporting heavy demand for its products, and Inovio Pharmaceuticals spiked after receiving a $5 million grant from the Gates Foundation for testing a device that may be used to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine.

On the earnings front, Dollar General reported better than expected top and bottom-line results and said that while it has not experienced supply-chain disruptions due to the COVID-19, there’s “no guarantee” its business would be insulated from the outbreak.

U.S. Treasurys surged, pushing the yield on the 10-year note down 18.4 basis points to 0.688 percent. Earlier this week, the benchmark yield touched a record low of 0.38 percent.

European markets were hammered, with Britain’s FTSE plunging 7 percent and both Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 down by more than 6 percent.

Overnight, markets ended sharply lower across Asia. Japan’s Nikkei tumbled 4.4 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and China’s Shanghai Composite shed 3.7 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

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