American stocks made history today, plummeting so quickly that they activated the NYSE's "circuit breakers" put in place after the Great Recession.
Why it matters: Today's sell-off — the worst single day since December 2008 and on the 11th anniversary of the Great Recession's stock bottom — reflects serious fears that the oil price drop and the coronavirus could throw the economy into a recession, Axios' Courtenay Brown writes.
The big picture: The stock market started rising shortly after trading resumed following the 15-minute break after a 7% drop. After the circuit breaker kicked in, trading was quite orderly and nonvolatile, preventing a bad Monday from becoming another Black Monday.
- The S&P closed today down 7.6%, or less than 50 points away from a bear market.
- The Nasdaq Composite sank 7.3%.
- The Dow Jones Industrials Average closed down 7.8% (or more than 2,000 points).
Between the lines: The benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yield fell to its lowest level on record, 0.32%, before climbing back above 0.5% later in the day. Prior to this year, its yield had never fallen below 1%, per Axios' Dion Rabouin.
- Yields rise as prices fall, and investors have packed into U.S. government debt at a record pace over the last few weeks, seeking safety as the market prices in a recession.