Stocks fall, Trump Bump vanishes as virus fears slam markets

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are tumbling 9% on Wall Street Wednesday and they have wiped out the last of the gains for the Dow Jones Industrial Average since President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Traders at the New York Stock Exchange listen to President Donald Trump's televised White House news conference Tuesday in New York. Stocks are adding sharply to their gains on Wall Street after the president and his team announced more measures to combat the cornoavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Even prices for investments seen as very safe fell as investors rushed to raise cash amid fears about the coronavirus pandemic.

The S&P 500 is down 9% in afternoon trading after losses deepened following a temporary halt.

Oil prices had another jaw-dropping skid Wednesday, sending the price of U.S. crude oil below $22 a barrel for the first time since 2002.

Benchmark U.S. oil lost $6.58, or 24.4%, to settle at $20.37 a barrel. Brent, the international standard, dropped $2.85, or 13.4%, to close at $24.88.

Investors are betting that demand for oil will be down sharply as factories close and as people have put off vacations and business trips in order to stay home and minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Those concerns of weaker oil demand have been heightened in recent weeks as economists have issued forecasts predicting that the economic fallout from the viral outbreak will push the U.S. into a recession in the second quarter.

Oil prices have also been hurt by large producers engaging in a price war and refusing to ease back on how many barrels of oil they produce, pushing prices lower.

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