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Stocks In Free Fall: Dow Plummets More Than 1,000 Points As Coronavirus Tightens Grip

A pedestrian walks past a board displaying the closing figure of the Nikkei Stock Average in Tokyo on Friday. All of the major indexes are now in what the markets call a correction, and stocks also were down in Asia and Europe.
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A pedestrian walks past a board displaying the closing figure of the Nikkei Stock Average in Tokyo on Friday. All of the major indexes are now in what the markets call a correction, and stocks also were down in Asia and Europe.

Updated at 10 a.m. ET

U.S. stocks plunged as soon as the market opened, deepening a multiday rout fueled by fears about the coronavirus' impact on the global economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which fell by 1,190 points on Thursday, lost 1,000 points within the first 30 minutes of the market open. The S&P 500 stock index lost another 3% Friday morning and is now down 14% from the all-time high it reached only last week.

Around the world stocks also fell, with Asian stock indexes down more than 3%. Markets also finished significantly lower in London and Frankfurt, Germany.

The interest rate on U.S. government debt also fell further, with the 10-year Treasury bill dipping to a record low of 1.15%.

The past week has seen a sudden, dizzying drop in stock prices, as investors grapple with growing evidence that the deadly coronavirus epidemic is spreading well beyond China.

South Korea and Italy have seen significant clusters of cases, and many more countries, including the United States, are reporting new outbreaks.

With the S&P 500 index down, the market is officially in what Wall Street calls a market correction.

All three major stock indexes posted their largest ever point drops on Thursday.

Companies around the world are cutting production and canceling conferences to limit the outbreak's spread. JPMorgan Chase announced it is eliminating nonessential employee travel, while United Airlines said today it is reducing flights to Japan, Singapore and South Korea.

As businesses slow down, economists say the odds of a global recession have increased significantly.

"With the coronavirus pandemic spreading throughout the world, falling corporate sales and its economic impact will depress economic growth," wrote Sung Won Sohn, professor of economics at Loyola Marymount University.
Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Director of News and Programming.