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Dow dives 1,400 points as WHO declares coronavirus a global pandemic

The Dow Jones industrial average is on pace to close in a bear market Wednesday, a swift retreat from record highs just a month ago as worries persist over economies reeling from the coronavirus outbreak.

The blue-chip average dropped as much as 1,412 points, putting it on track to enter a bear market, or a drop of 20% from its  Feb.12 high. That would mark its largest decline since the financial crisis.

Investors use the Standard & Poor’s 500, a benchmark for mutual funds, to track the broader stock market. Wednesday’s rout left it down nearly 20% – almost bear territory – from its record. The broad index shed 5%, leaving it off about 19.1% from its Feb. 19 high. The Nasdaq Composite shed 4.7%, putting it 19% away from its record last month.

The World Health Organization declared the virus a global pandemic Wednesday as the number of confirmed cases exceeded 121,000. 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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