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Dow dives 1,200 points as WHO declares coronavirus a global pandemic

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

The World Health Organization declared the virus a global pandemic Wednesday. 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. 

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 1,200 points, nearly erasing Tuesday’s gains after the blue-chip average jumped 1,167 points. 

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 4.2%, leaving it off about 18.4% from its Feb. 19 high. The Nasdaq Composite shed 3.9%. 

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The speed of the market’s declines and the degree of its swings the last few weeks have rattled investors. It was only three weeks ago that the S&P 500 set a record high, and the Dow has had six days where it swung by 1,000 points since then. It’s done that only three other times in history.

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