On Wednesday, the Dow closed below 20,000 for the first time since 2017. On Thursday, it showed no signs of being able to regain that threshold, per CNBC. The Dow dropped more than 650 points in the opening minutes, or nearly 3.5%. The S&P 500 dropped about 3%. The continued decline comes despite intense stimulus efforts by the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, notes the Wall Street Journal, along with plans by the US government to send Americans two separate relief checks. The newspaper also notes that the closely watched Cboe Volatility Index is now near a record high.
"The financial system is just showing so many points of stress that it’s hard for any single measure to restore investor confidence," Altaf Kassam of State Street Global Advisors tells the Journal. "When you have whole economies or whole populations shut down, it is going to have a massive economic effect and no one knows how long that will go on for." Stocks in Asia and Europe also fell Thursday. Billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman called for President Trump to essentially shut down the nation for one month, adding this scary quote, per CNBC: "This is the only answer,” he said. "America will end as we know it. I’m sorry to say so, unless we take this option." (Read more stock market stories.)