Global stocks plunge after Trump announces coronavirus response package

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US stock futures and markets around the world slid late Wednesday night as concerns about the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic continued to dominate.

Futures for the three major US indexes were down sharply in after-hours trading with S&P 500, Nasdaq, and Dow Jones industrial average futures all down roughly 4%.

Futures do not correlate directly with trading during regular hours, but the slides came just hours after the Dow officially fell into bear market territory, meaning the index was down 20% from its recent heights. The move ended the longest bull market run in history for the index, which started on March 9, 2009. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were just short of entering bear markets.

Global stocks also continued their tumbles with Japan’s Nikkei index down more than 4% and the Australian S&P/ASX 200 down more than 6%. China’s Shanghai Composite index was looking slightly better, but still off by more than 1%.

The drop-off came after President Donald Trump announced several steps the US will take to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Trump said the US will ban all travel from Europe by non-US citizens for thirty days.

He added that the “prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amounts of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval. Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing.”

But the White House and the president himself scrambled to clarify his comments as futures tanked in response to his announcement.

“Hoping to get the payroll tax cut approved by both Republicans and Democrats, and please remember, very important for all countries & businesses to know that trade will in no way be affected by the 30-day restriction on travel from Europe. The restriction stops people not goods,” Trump tweeted, contradicting his earlier remarks.

The World Health Organization officially classified coronavirus, which leads to a disease called COVID-19, as a pandemic on Wednesday. More than 125,000 people have been infected across the globe and there have been more than 4,500 deaths.

At least 1,240 people in 42 states and Washington, DC, have tested positive for coronavirus, according to The New York Times, and at least 37 patients with the virus have died.

Financial markets have taken a huge hit as the virus continues to spread and more and more countries implement restrictions on travel and day-to-day work.

– Business Insider

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