Wall Street opened to a bloodbath on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average taking a 7.3 percent dive—1884.88 points—in its first moments of trading, before built-in circuit breakers halted the action for 15 minutes to staunch the losses. The S&P 500 Index also dropped 7 percent before regulators hit the brakes. When trading resumed, the indexes continued to free fall. If the losses hit 13 percent, the New York Stock Exchange will halt trading again. Overnight, oil prices tanked by more than 30 percent—the worst one-day loss since the 1991 Gulf War—and financial and credit markets shriveled around the world as the effects of the novel coronavirus epidemic raised new anxieties about a global economic recession. The swoon in the oil markets came as Saudi Arabia jacked up its production significantly—despite the glut caused by low demand due to the spread of the coronavirus—pushing prices per barrel to as low as $30. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has ordered the kingdom’s oil industry to attempt to grab market share from Russia and the U.S. after Friday’s collapse of OPEC’s supply-cut agreement with the Kremlin. MBS’ move set off a panic in already nervous global markets, fed by new fears about COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and Italy, with more than 110,000 people in 100 countries now affected. Stocks tumbled in Asia and European markets fell by as much as 6 percent.
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