"An extraordinary run of stock gains that began in 2009," as the Wall Street Journal put it, ended on Wednesday, with the longest-running bull market for US stocks coming to a close. The Dow needed to close below 23,641.136 to enter a bear market, meaning a decline of 20% or more from a peak set on Feb. 12; it closed at 23,553. It saw a one-day drop of 1,465 points, or a 5.86% decrease, per Marketwatch. The speed of the market’s declines and the degree of its swings the last few weeks have been breathtaking. It was only three weeks ago that the S&P 500 set a record high; it closed down nearly 5% on Wednesday, reports the AP, though both it and the Nasdaq managed to avoid closing in bear market territory.
United Airlines has lost more than a third of its value since Feb. 21, as many people don't want to risk flying. Cruise lines have also been hard hit. Even Apple has shed nearly 6% since the beginning of the year as production of iPhones in China has been slower to ramp up than expected. That’s why many analysts say markets will continue to swing sharply until the number of new coronavirus infections stops accelerating. "There’s a real feeling that we don’t know where this ends," said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network. Neither lower interest rates nor stimulus plans by governments will stop this crisis and worries about its effect on the economy. Only the containment of the virus can do that. But they can provide support to the economy in the meantime, and investors fear things would be much worse without them.
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