Stocks in the U.S. have entered a “bear” market as the Dow closed more than 20% below its peak last month, ending a record-long bull run that started in 2009 after the Great Recession. The downturn has been swift and sudden. The index reached a record high of 29,551 points on February 12. It shed another 1,400 points on Wednesday for a total drop of 20.3% since its previous high, meeting the 20% threshold that defines a bear market. Investors are fleeing stocks amid mounting fear about the impact of the coronavirus on businesses and consumers, with some economists saying it could trigger a recession this year. The World Health Organization said Wednesday that the outbreak spreading around the globe can now be characterized as a pandemic, which pushed stocks to lower levels in afternoon trading. Corporate earnings growth is likely to “collapse” in the second and third quarters as businesses feel the hit of the coronavirus, which is curtailing travel and spending, Goldman Sachs analysts predict. “Financial market panic” is adding to the economic stress, according to Oxford Economics chief U.S. economist Gregory Daco. “The lack of a coordinated health, fiscal, and Federal Reserve response is further feeding the frenzy of surging volatility, plunging… Read full this story
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