Mar 9, 2020 - Economy & Business

Wall Street's coronavirus anxiety hits new heights

A board displaying the foreign exchange rate of the US dollar against the Japanese yen, next to the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo. Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images

Trading activity Sunday night shows the recent tumult on Wall Street will continue.

What's going on: The yield on the benchmark government bond continued its swift slide lower as nervous investors pile into the safe-haven asset, while pre-market trading pointed to steep declines for U.S. stocks. Oil prices dropped sharply.

Details: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell below 0.5% at one point on Sunday night.

  • There's been a massive move in yields in a short amount of time. Less than one week ago, the yield broke below 1% for the first time ever. At the beginning of the year, the yield was around 1.88%.
  • S&P 500 futures fell 5%. That’s the most the CME allows it to fall before curbing trading until the market officially opens on Monday. That limit was last hit more than three years ago.
  • Separately, the OPEC-Russia production-limiting pact fell through, prompting oil prices to collapse. The price of Brent crude fell more than 20%.

Driving the news: Coronavirus cases spiked in the U.S. over the weekend. Overseas, Italy shut down a key economic hub to contain the spread of the virus.

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Stocks plunge 7% at close of Wall Street's brutal day

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

U.S. stocks closed more than 7% lower on Monday, after a wild day for the stock market that saw a rare halt in trading.

Why it matters: The sell-off reflects serious fears that the oil price drop and the coronavirus could throw the economy into a recession.

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Trading halted as U.S. stocks plummet

Traders work the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

The stock market fell as much as 7% on Monday morning — a decline so steep that trading was halted for 15 minutes.

Why it matters: The massive sell-off points to Wall Street's anxiety about the global economy. The steep declines come as Saudi Arabia launched an oil price war against Russia over the weekend, while the coronavirus outbreak worsened.

Oil prices plunge as market absorbs OPEC-Russia split

A Kuwaiti trader checks stock prices at Boursa Kuwait in Kuwait City, on March 8, 2020. Photo: Yasser Al-Zayyat/AFP via Getty Images

Oil prices nosedived to four-year lows Sunday as trading resumed after Friday's collapse of the OPEC-Russia production-limiting pact, a rupture slated to increase supplies at a time when the novel coronavirus is sapping demand.

The state of play: The immediate 31% collapse when trading resumed last night was the second-largest on record behind the 1991 Gulf war, Bloomberg reports.