Final bell on Wall Street: New York Stock Exchange trading floor closes indefinitely due to coronavirus as Dow plunges 914 points in worst month for stocks in three decades
- U.S. stock indexes closed down sharply on Friday after erasing early gains
- Friday was the last day of live trading on NYSE before trades move all online
- New York implemented strict new measures restricting non-essential workers
- Trump also ordered the border with Mexico closed to all non-essential traffic
- Stocks are down more than 30% from their record highs just last month
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
The final bell has rung on Wall Street.
Stocks closed sharply down on Friday, as the New York Stock Exchanged conducted its final session of live floor trading, moving all trades online after two traders tested positive for coronavirus.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 913.21 points, or 4.55 percent, to 19,173.98, after New York and California imposed tough restrictions to keep people at home to try to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
It wraps up the worst week on Wall Street since October 2008, and the worst month in three decades, with the main stock indexes down more than 30 percent from their highs of last month.
The S&P 500, the benchmark for many index funds held in 401(k) accounts and the measure preferred by professional investors, was closed down more than 4 percent.
The bell used to open and close the markets hangs in front of an empty podium above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as it prepares to close due to the coronavirus pandemic
Trader Michael Capolino wears a protective mask while working on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Friday. The New York Stock Exchange will stop floor operations at the end of the day after two people who work in the building were tested positive for the coronavirus
Weighing on stocks were strict new order from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, mandating that non-essential workers stay inside their homes except to buy groceries and medicine.
California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a similar order on Thursday, effectively forcing thousands of businesses to shut down and countless workers to lose their jobs.
President Donald Trump also ordered the border with Mexico closed to all non-essential traffic, another clampdown that will have economic ripple effects.
Investors are weighing the likelihood that the global economy is entering a recession because of the massive shutdowns and layoffs caused by the outbreak against steps by central banks and governments to ease the economic pain.
‘We just don’t know what the next two weeks will bring,’ said Paul Christopher, global market strategist at the Wells Fargo Investment Institute. ‘Are we going to follow the same infection curve as other countries and the number infections will drastically accelerate? That’s when the storm is going to come.’
Investors are jumpy due to uncertainty about the size and duration of the impact of the coronavirus and the spreading wave of business shutdowns meant to help contain it.
‘Markets, in our view, will ultimately settle down if three conditions are met: 1) visibility on the ultimate scale of the coronavirus outbreak and evidence the infection rate as peaked over the long term; 2) deployment of credible and coordinated policy packages; and 3) confidence that financial markets are functioning properly,’ asset manager BlackRock said in a note.
It said it was neutral on risk assets and advised investors to take a long-term perspective as ‘significant value is being created on riskier assets.’
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday
A trader exits the trading floor on Thursday. Friday will be the last day of live trading at the NYSE as all trading goes electronic on
A trader exits the trading floor, following traders testing positive for coronavirus disease
More than 10,000 people have died, and there are over 244,000 cases worldwide, including nearly 85,000 people who have recovered.
Wall Street has bounced up and down by record-setting margins of up to 12 percent over the past week.
Unease has grown as forecasters say a global recession looks increasingly likely and have cut growth outlooks for the United States, China and other major economies.
Investors continued to seek safety in U.S. government bonds, driving their yields broadly lower. The 10-year Treasury yield, which influences interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans, slid to 0.94 percent from 1.12 percent late Thursday.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude slid 6 percent to $24.25 per barrel. The price of gold climbed 1.1 percent.
The mixed start for the U.S. indexes followed solid gains across markets in Europe. Stock markets in Asia closed higher.