Trading halted on Wall Street after stock plunge triggers ‘circuit breaker’


The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 1,700 points Thursday morning after President Donald Trump’s long-awaited response to the coronavirus epidemic triggered a massive sell-off on Wall Street.

The S&P 500 plunged by 7 percent, triggering a circuit breaker, which halts all trading on the New York Stock Exchange for 15 minutes.

All three major averages sank after Trump’s Oval Office address Wednesday night failed to satisfy traders who were hoping for more concrete steps to reduce any economic slowdown from the viral outbreak.

It was the second time trading was temporarily halted on Thursday morning, after all three major averages sank below the 5 percent “limit down” marker in premarket activity.

In his address from the Oval Office, Trump announced he would be halting all inbound flights from Europe in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus. That created immediate panic as Americans abroad rushed to buy last-minute tickets home, and also fueled trader concern that suspended travel and trade between the U.S. and the European Union would come at a steep economic cost.

Travel stocks continued their double digit plunge, with airlines and hotels hardest hit.

Markets were also underwhelmed by Trump’s economic stimulus package, which offers emergency loans to small businesses, deferred tax payments for some people, but made no mention of paid sick leave or free testing for the coronavirus, which continues its spread across the U.S.

It’s the second time this week that markets have suspended futures trading: The S&P 500 hit the threshold on Monday morning after an oil production spat between Russia and Saudi Arabia pushed the price of oil down by 30 percent overnight, the biggest drop since the Gulf War, in 1991.

Trading was also halted later that day, when the S&P fell by more than 7 percent just minutes after the opening bell on Monday, triggering a circuit breaker.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is set to open with a decline of more than 1,100 points. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are currently down by just under 5 percent.

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