Updated Mar 11, 2020 - Economy & Business

Stocks sink 4% as Dow closes in bear market

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Stocks fell more than 4% on Wednesday, with the Dow closing in bear market territory — or 20% below the record high hit in February.

Why it matters: The Dow's steep drop ends one major index's record 11-year stretch without a 20% decline, as Wall Street grapples with just how bad the coronavirus will be for the global economy. The S&P 500 is about 30 points away from hitting bear market territory.

Between the lines: A stretch of market volatility like this — with 2% or more moves almost every trading session in recent weeks — has been rare in the past decade.

  • While central banks around the world are stepping in, it’s unclear what measures — if any — the Trump administration will be able to get through Congress to stem the economic pain.

Editor's note: This story is developing. Please check back for the latest details.

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The market is not quite as bad as the Dow makes it look

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

One high-profile group of stocks has been doing particularly badly during the coronavirus crisis — the 30 companies that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The state of play: The Dow stocks are down 33% over the past month, compared with a 30% decline for the S&P 500, and a 24% drop for the more tech-focused Nasdaq. On up days and down days the Dow has generally underperformed the market as a whole.

Stocks rebound after Wall Street’s worst day since 1987

Photo: Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images

Stocks closed up more than 9% on Friday, following the stock market's worst day in 30 years.

Why it matters: Stocks jumped during Trump's coronavirus press conference, ending Wall Street's wild week with its best single-day performance since the financial crisis.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 13, 2020 - Economy & Business

Stocks surge 4% after Wall Street's worst day since 2008

Photo: Timothy Clary/AFP via Getty Images

The stock market closed up more than 4% on Tuesday, recovering half of the losses from Monday's sell-off.

Between the lines: The Trump administration signaled it will work with Congress to try to shore up the economy amid concerns about the effects of the spreading coronavirus and collapsing oil prices.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 10, 2020 - Economy & Business