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Dow dives into bear market as coronavirus is declared a pandemic

The stock market’s 11-year bull run is pretty much over.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 1,464.94 points on Wednesday to close at 23,553.22, dropping more than 20% from its record high last month and putting it in bear territory for the first time since the financial crisis of 2007-2009.

The blue-chip average entered the new, gloomy market phase after the World Health Organization deemed the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic and investors anxiously awaited fiscal stimulus plans from the government.

“This is the swiftest fall from grace that I’ve ever seen,” says Megan Horneman, director of portfolio strategy at Maryland-based Verdence Capital Advisors. “We would have never forecast it would be the coronavirus that could take this market down.”

That said, the Standard & Poor’s 500, the main gauge of U.S. stock markets, avoided entering a bear market by a hair.  Wednesday’s rout left the S&P 500 down 19.2% from its Feb. 19 high. Wall Street professionals consider a bear market official when the broader index drops 20% from its peak.

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