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Markets plunge Wednesday
U.S. financial markets plummeted Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling more than 970 points or 4.4% at the close.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq both dropped 4.4%.
“U.S. stocks are beginning the second quarter under pressure after registering the worst first quarter on record and posting a quarterly drop only rivaled by periods in the Depression era in the 1930s and the Global Financial Crisis of 2008,” analysts at Charles Schwab wrote in a market commentary Wednesday.
They went on, “The markets continue to be hampered by uncertainty regarding the depth and duration of the economic and social shocks associated with the unprecedented COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, which has fostered a self-imposed shutdown of the global economy and embrace of social distancing in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.”
The worst performer for the Dow Wednesday was Boeing, which shed more than 12% of its stock.
The steep fall comes after President Donald Trump abruptly shifted his messaging on the outbreak late Tuesday, saying the extension of the White House social distancing guidelines through April represents “a matter of life and death.”
The president added that the next few weeks will be “painful” but that “it’s going to be like a burst of light” as things get better.
“Hopefully as the experts are predicting, a lot of us are predicting having studied it so hard, going to start seeing some real light at the end of the tunnel, but this is going to be a very painful two weeks,” Trump said, appearing to refer to the peak of the death toll, which some models have signaled will hit mid-April.
The U.S. has become the new global epicenter of the outbreak, with more than 203,000 confirmed cases.