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Stocks plunge after temporary trading halt amid coronavirus chaos

Stocks cratered Thursday, sliding into bear territory as investors fear that efforts to contain the coronavirus are not enough to prevent widespread economic damages.

The Standard and Poor’s 500 slid into bear territory Thursday for the first time since the financial crisis after President Donald Trump banned travel from Europe to stem the economic fallout from the coronavirus, a move that threatened further disruption to the global economy.

The S&P 500 fell sharply after the opening bell, triggering an automatic stop to trading for 15 minutes that serves as a cooling-off period. The index was down 7.5% at 11:20 a.m. It would need to drop 13% to trigger a second trading halt. 

The index, which professional investors watch closely as a gauge for the health of the markets, fell into a bear market, or a drop of 20% from its peak, putting it on track to end the longest bull market in Wall Street history. 

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