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Dow dives 750 points as virus woes counter hope for fiscal steps

U.S. stocks opened sharply lower Wednesday, as investor angst persisted over economies reeling from the coronavirus outbreak.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 750 points, cutting into Tuesday’s gains after the blue-chip average jumped 1,167 points. The losses extend wild swings that have rattled investors the past few weeks. The Standard & Poor’s 500 lost 2.8%, off about 17% from its Feb. 19 high. The Nasdaq Composite shed 2%. 

The Bank of England cut its key interest rate by half a percentage point to 0.25% as an emergency measure in response to the outbreak of the deadly virus. The central bank said the move would “help support businesses and consumer confidence at a difficult time.”

Countries are shifting into damage-control as infections spread, prompting sweeping controls on travel, closures of schools and cancellations or postponements of sports events and many other public activities.

“Investors are still worried that those fiscal stimulus packages may not be able to contain the virus outbreak as well as to mitigate the impact on the economy,” said Louis Wong of Philip Capital Management.

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NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 04:  Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on October 4, 2018 in New York City. With bond prices dropping interest rates have been surging resulting in the Dow Jones Industrials Average falling over 200 points at the close.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775238410 ORIG FILE ID: 1045675082

President Donald Trump said late Monday he will seek financial relief for workers and businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak, as new cases were reported across the country.

Concerns have grown that a prolonged outbreak may bring on a recession. The total of confirmed cases neared 120,000, with more than 80,900 in mainland China, where the virus has killed more than 3,100 people. The number of confirmed cases in the U.S. surpassed 1,030 as of early Wednesday.

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