Dow plunges nearly 1,200 points Thursday amid coronavirus fears

Biggest single-day loss in Dow history part of rollercoaster week for markets amid coronavirus fears

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NYSE opening on February 27
NYSE opening on February 27
(JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)
Last Updated:
February 27, 2020 - 6:24pm

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Thursday dropped nearly 1,200 points, the biggest single-day loss in the stock index’s history, amid growing, worldwide fears that the deadly coronavirus will become a major disruption to the global economy. 

The loss sent the Dow into correction territory -- triggered by a loss of roughly 10 to 20 percent from a peak -- for the first time since December 2018.

President Trump tried Wednesday night to calm fears about the spread of the deadly virus, holding a televised White House press conference in which he said, “Regardless of what happens, we are totally prepared.”

Thursday’s losses were part of rollercoaster week for financial markets worldwide, in which the Dow was down as much as 1,000 points Monday after the Centers for Disease for Control and Prevention said an outbreak in the United States is inevitable. 

“We’re extremely cautious in the short term,” Tom Hainlin, global investment strategist at Ascent Private Capital Management, told CNBC as markets closed Thursday. “No one really seems to be an expert on the coronavirus. We haven’t seen anything like this really in our investing lifetimes.”

U.S. health officials also reported Thursday the first domestic case of the coronavirus, in California, in which they could not trace to someone else already infected.

There are now 82,294 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, including 59 in the United States, according to the World Health Organization. The WHO also reports 2,804 deaths worldwide.