The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Stocks plunge to three-year low amid broadening virus shutdowns

Placeholder while article actions load

U.S. stocks capped their biggest weekly decline since the global financial crisis in 2008 as the pace of novel coronavirus infections picked up and extraordinary government measures to keep people at home brought economic activity to a virtual standstill in some places.

The S&P 500 Index sank 15 percent to the lowest level since February 2017. The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 17 percent, ending the week at 19,174 after losing more than 4,000 points. The Nasdaq Composite Index declined 13 percent.

An air of calm that had appeared to be settling on the market was broken Friday as investors reevaluated the extent of the harm the covid-19 outbreak could do to the economy amid increasing government-mandated measures to increase social distancing. New York state ordered all nonessential workers to stay home. Neighboring New Jersey followed hours later. California’s governor issued a similar directive a day earlier.

All 11 main S&P 500 industry groups recorded double-digit declines for the week.

The U.S. Treasury will sell $45 billion of 13-week bills and $39 billion of 26-week bills Monday. It will sell $40 billion of two-year notes and $26 billion of 52-week bills Tuesday, $41 billion of five-year notes Wednesday and $32 billion of seven-year notes Thursday.

— Bloomberg News