Business

Dow Plunges 2,700 Points, Trading Halted After Fed Slashes Rates

Markets are falling sharply after the Federal Reserve aggressively cut interest rates to near zero. The Dow tumbled more than 2,700 points — nearly 12% — as coronavirus measures expanded.

Markets are falling sharply, even after the Federal Reserve aggressively cut interest rates to near zero.

Updated 3:15 p.m. CT

U.S. stock indexes fell sharply Monday, a day after the Federal Reserve aggressively cut interest rates to near zero in a bid to stop the economy from crashing. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down nearly 2,500 points, or 10.7%, as coronavirus measures rapidly expanded.

The deep stock market sell-off reflects broad concerns that despite these economic measures, the U.S. economy is likely heading toward a recession.

Many parts of the economy have abruptly come to a standstill. Government orders to temporarily close restaurants and bars in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago and recommendations to ban groups of more than 10 people have been among the latest attempts to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The hard-hit airline industry is seeking $50 billion in aid and loans from the federal government. “The rapid spread of COVID-19, along with the government and business-imposed restrictions on air travel, are having a unprecedented and debilitating impact on U.S. airlines,” the industry group Airlines for America said.

In an afternoon news conference, President Trump said “we’re going to back the airlines, 100%.”

Leaders of the Group of Seven — the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom — agreed to work together to speed up and coordinate the global response to the pandemic.

“We are mobilizing the full range of instruments, including monetary and fiscal measures, as well as targeted actions, to support immediately and as much as necessary the workers, companies, and sectors most affected,” the G-7 said in a statement.

The S&P 500 index fell nearly 11% after temporary trading halts were lifted on the New York Stock Exchange, but it later recovered somewhat.

A 7% drop in the S&P 500 automatically forces trading to stop for 15 minutes, which has happened three times in the past week.

On Sunday evening, the Fed took the extraordinary move of cutting rates by 1 percentage point to near zero. The last time it moved rates that low was in 2008, during the financial crisis.

“The effects of the coronavirus will weigh on economic activity in the near term and pose risks to the economic outlook,” the Fed said in a statement.

The drops on Wall Street follow steep falls in Europe, where stock indexes were down as much as 11% Monday.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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