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Friday, March 13, 2020, 10:35
European stocks plunge most this century
By Agencies
Friday, March 13, 2020, 10:35 By Agencies

LONDON - European stocks posted their steepest drop this century as investors already reeling from the US travel ban were left underwhelmed by the European Central Bank’s policy measures to combat the impact of the coronavirus.

READ MORE: EU disapproves of US travel ban as ECB ramps up stimulus

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped as much as 10% after the ECB’s decision to keep key rates unchanged, while boosting quantitative easing and liquidity tools. All 19 industry groups tumbled at least 9%, the travel and leisure extending its streak as the current sell-off’s biggest loser with a 13% drop.

US stock indexes resumed trading on Thursday after being halted for 15 minutes, as the benchmark S&P 500 index plunged 7% and triggered an automatic cutout shortly after the opening bell, for the second time this week.

Global stocks plunged into a bear market and oil slumped on Thursday after US President Donald Trump banned travel from Europe to stem the coronavirus, threatening more disruption to the world economy

All three main indexes have now fallen over 24% from their intraday record highs hit in February.

At 9:54 am ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 2,075.96 points, or 8.81%, at 21,477.26, the S&P 500 .SPX was down 223.81 points, or 8.16%, at 2,517.57 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 635.56 points, or 7.99%, at 7,316.49.

Global stocks plunged into a bear market and oil slumped on Thursday after US President Donald Trump banned travel from Europe to stem the coronavirus, threatening more disruption to the world economy.

With the pandemic wreaking havoc on daily life of millions worldwide, investors were also disappointed by the lack of broad measures in Trump's plan to fight the pathogen, prompting traders to bet of further aggressive easing by the Federal Reserve.

The falls pushed the MSCI All-Country World Index, which tracks stocks across 49 countries, into bear market territory, down 20 percent from its 52-week peak.

The index was down nearly 2 percent on the day.

Investors also rushed to safe-haven assets from bonds to gold to the yen and the Swiss franc.

US S&P 500 futures plummeted as much as 4.9 percent in Asia and last traded down 4.07 percent, a day after the S&P 500 lost 4.89 percent, leaving the index on the brink of entering bear market territory, defined as a 20 percent fall from a recent top.

Those fears left a trail of red across many markets.

ALSO READ: HK next up in world's growing list of stock bear markets

Japan's Nikkei crumbled 4.4 percent to a trough last seen almost three years ago while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 4.7 percent.

Following a closed-door meeting held at the prime minister's office, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said there would be no hesitation by the central bank in taking necessary measures to combat market volatility if and when deemed necessary, Xinhua reports.

Australian shares plunged 7.4 percent to the lowest level in more than three years while Seoul's Kospi fell 4.8 percent to 4-1/2-year lows with massive selling prompting a brief trade halt. Thai shares sank 8.8 percent to 8-year lows.

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