Thursday continued a disastrous week on Wall Street as investors react to the ongoing global coronavirus outbreak.
THE DOW JONES Industrial Average closed Thursday down nearly 1,200 points – its largest single-day drop in history – as U.S. stocks were driven into correction territory by escalating concern over the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
The Dow shed nearly 4.5%, closing at its lowest level since August and weathering a sixth consecutive day of losses. The Standard & Poor’s 500, similarly, dropped more than 4.4% on Thursday. Both the Dow and S&P 500 are down 11% from where they ended last week.
Losses have been widely attributed to the spread of the virus. Reports surfaced on Wednesday night that the first “community transmission” of the disease had been detected in California, meaning a case was confirmed in a person who had not traveled to an area battling infection and had not known they’d been in contact with someone who had.
“The world just has to wake up to the fact that we’re in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic,” Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” during an interview on Thursday.
U.S. stock indexes had for weeks proven resilient to the disease’s spread, despite international corporations sounding the alarm over supply chain disruptions in China, where the virus is believed to have originated. To date, more than 82,000 infections have been confirmed, and at least 2,800 people have died as a result.
“Despite a 12 percent decline since the S&P 500 peaked on February 19, what we’ve seen is a correction, not a crash,” Greg McBride, a senior vice president and chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com, said in a statement shortly after markets closed on Thursday. “Markets move sharply when fear and uncertainty are prevalent, and there is plenty of both right now.”