Outside of the New York Stock Exchange. (Photo: Wang Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Stocks closed more than 4% lower on Wednesday, continuing a volatile stretch for the stock market amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Between the lines: The declines come after President Trump on Tuesday braced the country for a "very painful" few weeks "like we've never seen before," as COVID-19 cases continue to spike across the U.S. and the economy remains largely shut down.

By the numbers: The S&P 500, Nasdaq and Dow fell about 4.4%.

  • The S&P 500 kicked off the second quarter with its biggest drop in roughly two weeks. There was optimism about the coronavirus relief package, which will blunt some pain for businesses as states encourage people to stay home.
  • The S&P shed 20% in the first quarter, its worse quarterly decline since 2008.

Go deeper

36 mins ago - Health

The pandemic hasn't hampered the health care industry

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The economy has been tanking. Coronavirus infections and deaths have been rising. And the health care industry is as rich as ever.

The big picture: Second-quarter results are still pouring in, but so far, a vast majority of health care companies are reporting profits that many people assumed would not have been possible as the pandemic raged on.

Column / Harder Line

How climate and business woes are sinking a natural-gas project

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The Trump administration recently touted its approval of America’s first terminal on the West Coast to export liquefied natural gas. There’s just one problem: it probably won’t be built.

Why it matters: The project in southern Oregon faces political and business hurdles serious enough that those who are following it say it will be shelved. Its problems embody the struggles facing a once-promising sector that's now struggling under the weight of the pandemic and more.

Updated 1 hour ago - Science

Isaias strengthens as it crawls toward the Carolinas

A wave crashes ashore as Tropical Storm Isaias passes through Jetty Park in Fort Pierce, Florida, on Sunday. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Tropical Storm Isaias is expected to reach the Carolinas late Monday at "near hurricane strength," the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

The latest: Isaias was 65 miles northeast of Cape Canaveral with winds increasing to 70 mph, the NHC said in a 2 a.m. update. Storm surge warnings and hurricane watches were in effect for North and South Carolina and Rhode Island. Tropical storm watches were in effect for Florida, Long Island and Delaware.