Dow Jones down more than 1,300 points on Wednesday

Markets continue exhibiting wild volatility amid the coronavirus scare

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New York Stock Exchange March 18, 2020
New York Stock Exchange March 18, 2020
(BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty Images)
Last Updated:
March 18, 2020 - 4:57pm

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wednesday dropped more than 1,300 points, reacting to the worldwide coronavirus that has kept consumers inside their homes and closed the stores, restaurants and now factories in which they shop and earn paychecks.

Earlier in the day, the country's Big Three automakers reportedly agreed to temporarily close plants, a sign that the impact of the deadly virus has now gone beyond America's retail and hospitality industries and into its manufacturing sector.

The markets have in recent weeks lost nearly one-third of their value since recent all-time highs, triggering concerns of a recession. 

Wednesday's losses mark another volatile day this week for the financial markets.

The Dow on Monday plunged nearly 3,000 points, the largest point drop in the index's history, before rebounding more than 1,000 points on Tuesday.

The Trump administration and members of Congress are working toward enacting stimulus measures to blunt the dramatic economic blow to the economy as the nation weathers the health scare. One of the measures backed by the Trump administration is a plan to send cash to Americans.

“We are looking at sending checks to Americans immediately," Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Tuesday. "And what we have heard from hardworking Americans, many companies have now shut down, whether it is bars or restaurants. Americans need cash now. And the president wants to get cash now. And I mean now in the next two weeks."

The Federal Reserve has also taken actions recently, decreasing the target federal funds rate to just 0-0.25 percent and announcing that it will purchase at least $500 billion in Treasury securities and at least $200 billion in mortgage-backed securities in the months ahead.

"The Federal Reserve Board announced today that it will establish a Commercial Paper Funding Facility (CPFF) to support the flow of credit to households and businesses," a Tuesday press release divulged.