S&P 500 sinks 7% triggering second circuit breaker this week

Asian and European markets signaled a low open for U.S. stocks today, heat is on in Washington to pass a $1 trillion aid package

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Wall Street traders mourning stock losses
Wall Street traders mourning stock losses
(Spencer Platt / Getty Images_
Last Updated:
March 18, 2020 - 1:06pm

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1,660 point, roughly 7.8% during midday trading. The S&P 500 dipped 7% prompting a 15-minute halt in U.S. stock market trading -- the second one this week, and fourth in an eight day period. 

Futures markets signaled a low open for Wall Street trading, as the global economy continues to flounder as it confronts the coronavirus.

European markets closed low, following a late-day dip in the Asian markets. Oil futures were down, as Brent crude pricing falls below $30 a barrel. Gold and bond prices dipped, indicating investors stepping away from a wide field of markets.

On Tuesday, U.S. stocks rose 6% and the Dow recovered about 1,000 points, as Washington discussed plans for a stimulus package that could exceed $1 trillion. The package may include a cash injection of $1,000 into the hands of each American, in addition to payroll tax cuts, and a $50 billion bailout for the airline industry.

It’s important, for the sake of the markets, that Congress figure out some more details of the package sooner rather than later. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appears to understand this, as Tuesday he said he has no plans to dismiss the Senate before the package is set.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin further unnerved investor Tuesday when he said that American unemployment could reach 20% without government help. Mnuchin also said that there are no plans to close the markets, but trading hours may be cut, depending on circumstance and need.