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Stocks extend losses despite further central bank support

U.S. stocks extended declines Thursday even as the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank both rolled out fresh measures to support financial markets as the coronavirus pandemic escalates. 

The Dow Jones industrial average slumped 250 points, a day after it tumbled more than 1,300 points, nearly erasing all of its gains since President Donald Trump took office. The blue-chip average closed below 20,000 Wednesday for the first time since Feb. 2, 2017. On Thursday, the Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 1%. 

Even prices for longer-term U.S. Treasurys, which are seen as some of the safest possible investments, fell as investors sold what they could to raise cash. That pushed the yield on the 10-year Treasury, which moves in the opposite direction of prices, sharply higher, to 1.19%. It had recently dropped below 1% for the first time ever. 

The Federal Reserve on Thursday expanded the currency swaps it announced Sunday with major central banks such as Europe and England. The expansion includes central banks in Australia, Brazil, Denmark, South Korea, Singapore Norway, Sweden and New Zealand.

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