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

Dow plunges 800 points, enters correction on coronavirus fears

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The Standard & Poor’s 500 plunged again Wednesday but narrowly avoided its first bear market since the financial crisis.

Investors use the index, 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 4.9%, leaving it off about 19.2% from its Feb. 19 high. The Nasdaq Composite shed 4.7%, also off just under 20% from its record last month.

The Dow Jones industrial avergae dropped 1,464 points, entering a bear market, or a drop of 20% from its Feb.12 high. That marks its largest decline since the financial crisis.

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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