Dow falls below 20,000 as coronavirus fears continue to slam markets

The Dow Jones Industrial Average bounced back nervously on Tuesday, before dipping below 20,000 just one morning after its worst single-day points drop ever, as traders grappled with almost unprecedented economic volatility.

The S&P and Nasdaq, which had both notched up gains of around 2.5 percent each at the opening bell, were down by around 1 percent just half an hour later.

Markets saw choppy overnight trading, with European and Asian stocks and bonds fluctuating wildly as traders parsed the various government responses to stem the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

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Even the most drastic of monetary policy measures still seem to fall short. The Federal Reserve on Sunday implemented emergency action to ensure liquidity in U.S. markets, but that triggered a gigantic sell-off not seen since 1987.

A constant slew of updates and shutdowns has sent investors into a tailspin, with traditional safe havens such as gold and oil no longer necessarily viable options after a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia drove down the price of crude oil to 1991 levels.

While analysts, economists, and even President Donald Trump make mention of the possibility of a recession, some are now even contemplating whether the massive social and economic upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic could throw the U.S. into a depression.

China, where the novel coronavirus originated, is expected to see economic contraction by 9 percent in the first quarter, Goldman Sachs forecast on Tuesday, an unsettling indication of the economic distress that could affect the U.S.

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Trading was again halted in premarket activity on Tuesday, after the S&P hit its “limit down” threshold. It’s the third time in one month that trading has been paused prior to the opening bell.

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