Stocks are closing sharply lower as fears of a prolonged coronavirus-induced recession take hold. The Dow industrials lost 1,338 points, or 6.3%, ending the day below the 20K mark at 19,898. After a brutal few weeks, the Dow has now lost nearly all of its gains since President Trump's inauguration, the AP reports. Wednesday's losses deepened after a temporary halt was triggered in the early afternoon. Even prices for investments seen as very safe, like longer-term US Treasurys, fell as investors rushed to raise cash. The S&P 500 lost 131 points, or 5.1%, and the Nasdaq lost 344 points, or 4.7%. The price of oil fell 24% and dropped below $21 per barrel for the first time since 2002.
After the close of trading, the New York Stock Exchange issued a statement announcing it will close the trading floor starting Monday, moving entirely to electronic trading, CNN reports. Two people at the NYSE have tested positive for the virus, the statement says. "NYSE’s trading floors provide unique value to issuers and investors, but our markets are fully capable of operating in an all-electronic fashion to serve all participants, and we will proceed in that manner until we can re-open our trading floors to our members," the president of the NYSE says. Trading and regulatory oversight of trading will continue as usual, with normal operating hours. (Read more stock market stories.)