Five minutes into trading, the S&P 500’s losses hit 7 percent, causing an automatic stop to trading that lasted 15 minutes. After trading resumed, the markets began regaining some of what they’d lost. As of this publication, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 5%, or nearly 1,400 points.
The panic is rooted in fears about the coronavirus, as well as a crash in the oil market — set off over the weekend by a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia — which subsequently tanked global stock markets earlier in the day.
President Donald Trump attempted to assuage fears with a tweet comparing coronavirus to the flu: