Stocks plunge as Wall Street, White House see recession risk

CDC calls for further social distancing in US to prevent coronavirus spread

NEW YORK (AP) — Biggest drop ever. Worst day since. The stock has heard a lot of that over the past few weeks.

The market outdid itself again Monday, though not in a good way. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 2,997 points. That's the index's biggest point drop of all time, eclipsing the 2,352-point fall it had on Thursday.

For the second time in just three days, the market plunged the most percentage-wise since Oct. 19, 1987. The 13% drop in the Dow ranks second only to the 22.6% plunge it had then, on Black Monday.

The stock market's nosedive came as voices from Wall Street to the White House said the coronavirus outbreak is likely dragging the economy into a recession.

The Trump administration joined many state and local governments in encouraging people to practice “social distancing” and to avoid large gatherings.

“The real fear is going to be if people are going into hibernation, how long will that be and we have no way of having any knowledge to answer that question,” said Adam Taback, chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Wealth Management.

The Fed on Sunday cut its key interest rate to near zero.

The Bank of Japan also announced more stimulus Monday.

The price of crude oil dropped more than 8%. Bond prices soared as investors sought safety.

The biggest banks in the U.S. moved in unison to conserve cash through the first half of the year.

The Financial Services Forum, which represents Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, State Street, and Wells Fargo, said members would suspend stock buybacks for first quarter and the second quarter due to the virus outbreak.

Companies in every sector are buckling under the spread of the coronavirus Monday.

Box office ticket sales plunged to their lowest levels in at least 20 years in North America to among Hollywood’s worst weekends ever.

More people went to the movies the weekend after Sept. 11, 2001.

Business asks government to act to avert ‘devastating’ hit

The nation’s largest business organization is asking government leaders to act rapidly to help companies have access to cash and avert a “potentially devastating” hit to the economy as the coronavirus pandemic forces closures and quarantines worldwide.

In a letter to President Donald Trump and congressional leaders, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce called for legislation including a three-month cancellation of the taxes companies pay to support Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance.

The chamber said in a statement accompanying the letter that acting quickly could “mitigate the potentially devastating economic effects” of the virus’ spread.

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