Stock futures slumped on Wednesday evening, indicating that Wall Street was poised to extend the previous day’s sell-off, after President Donald Trump announced a European travel ban designed to contain the worsening coronavirus outbreak that has whipsawed markets.
In a televised address, Trump said he was planning to suspend all travel from Europe to the U.S. for the next 30 days, with the exception of the U.K. The news upset investors further, who immediately sold off stock futures and sent the S&P 500 (ES=F), Dow (YM=F) and Nasdaq (NQ=F) deeper into the red.
Weeks of panic-driven selling has dragged blue-chip stocks into bear market territory at a breathtaking pace, of less than a month from peak to trough. The Dow shed 1,464.94 points during the session, or 5.9%, sending it more than 20% below its recent high from February and into a bear market.
Midday Wednesday, the World Health Organization officially designated the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, as the virus spread across more than 100 countries and infected well over 100,000 individuals. The Dow sank more than 1,200 points following the announcement.
Stocks’ afternoon leg lower extended declines from earlier in the regular and overnight sessions. During the pre-market session, stock futures slumped after the White House failed to offer further details on a stimulus package President Donald Trump earlier this week had characterized as “very major.” The measures reportedly in consideration included a payroll tax cut and expanded worker protections, to help counteract any economic fall-out from the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
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