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Stocks plunge dramatically at opening as coronavirus concerns fuel trading halt

'No amount of money raining from the sky will cure this virus. Only time and medicine will'

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

Financial markets appear to be off to yet another coronavirus-driven rollercoaster week with a post-opening bell stock plummet and a short trading halt on Monday morning.

According to the Associated Press:

Stocks dropped 8% in the first minutes of trading Monday on Wall Street and triggered another temporary halt to trading as huge swaths of the economy come closer to shutting down, from airlines to restaurants ...

The selling was just as aggressive in markets around the world. European stocks and crude oil were both down close to 10%. The world's brightest spot may have been Japan, where the central bank announced more stimulus for the economy, and stocks still lost 2.5%.

Yahoo! Finance reporter Ines Ferre noted that the short "circuit breaker" pause in trading happened "just seconds" after the markets opened to the sharp initial decline Monday morning. She noted that just after 10 a.m. the Dow Jones Industrial Average was still down by more than 2,500 points.

Monday morning's opening plummet comes after stocks rallied considerably ahead of closing on Friday afternoon as President Donald Trump gave a speech at the White House announcing a national emergency declaration to combat the spread of the coronavirus in the United States. Noting it was the Dow's largest point gain in history, The Washington Post reported that the Friday afternoon spike "was Wall Street's biggest rally since 2008."

Citing unnamed investors, the Associated Press said that Monday's early stock plunge might have been set off by the Federal Reserve's Sunday announcement of emergency efforts to stave off an economic recession as several businesses and industries have been hit hard by efforts to confront of the virus' global spread through social distancing and quarantine measures.

The emergency measures are meant to encourage economic activity and will take the form of the dramatic step of lowering interest rates to almost zero in order as well as a monetary infusion of $700 billion in quantitative easing purchases.

"The Federal Reserve is prepared to use its full range of tools to support the flow of credit to households and businesses," the central bank said in a statement. "The committee will continue to closely monitor market conditions and is prepared to adjust its plans as appropriate."

Those moves might help ease markets, but some investors aren't going to be reassured until it appears that the United States is on the other side of the coronavirus outbreak's peak.

"The Fed blasted its monetary bazooka for sure," Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, told CNBC. "This better work because I don't know what they have left and no amount of money raining from the sky will cure this virus. Only time and medicine will."

At the time of this story's publication, however, the Dow had started to slightly recover some of the losses from the morning's initial drop, as had the S&P 500.

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