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Dow dives 1,000 points as virus woes counter hope for fiscal steps

U.S. stocks teetered on the edge of a bear market Wednesday as worries persisted over economies reeling from the coronavirus outbreak.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 1,000 points, nearly erasing 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.

Wednesday’s rout added to recent losses and left the Standard & Poor’s 500 down nearly 20% – almost bear territory – from its record. The broad index shed 3.6%, leaving it off about 18% from its Feb. 19 high. The Nasdaq Composite shed 3.3%. 

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.

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