More volatility is expected this week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 1,200 points, or 4.8%, on Wednesday, as investor anxiety over coronavirus outbreak continues to affect trading.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also each slipped more than 4% in intraday trading.
The steep selloff Wednesday came as the World Health Organization officially declared the COVID-19 outbreak a “pandemic.”
“WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction,” WHO Director Gen. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a news conference in Geneva. “We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.”
Health officials have asked countries to scale up emergency health responses.
Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum announced Wednesday it was creating a COVID Action Platform with support from the WHO, calling on the business community to mobilize support to help mitigate the economic impacts of the outbreak.
“COVID-19 is causing health emergencies and economic disruptions that no single stakeholder can address,” Klaus Schwab, the WEF founder, said in a statement. “Our best and only response to it should be to take concerted action.”
Tedros added that the private sector has “an essential role to play in combating this public health crisis” and called on companies to “make full use of this platform in support of the global public health response to COVID-19.”
Among the worst stock performers Wednesday was Boeing, which saw shares plummeted more than 13%. The company, already struggling due to 737 Max controversies, announced Wednesday it was implementing a hiring freeze, citing the “global disruption generated by the COVID-19 coronavirus.”
Trading this week has been characterized by swings of more than 1,000 points. Markets bounced back on Tuesday with the the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq each gaining almost 5%. Tuesday’s gains, however, made up for nearly half of Monday’s losses.
Talks of government relief to boost the U.S. economy, which could be deeply affected by the coronavirus outbreak, sparked some hope for investors earlier in the week, though details and timing of plans are shrouded in uncertainty.