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Wall Street Rocked by Coronavirus; Trading Halts Twice Thursday Morning Amid Major Selloff

Disney shares plunge 10% as concerns mount over the lasting impact of the coronavirus outbreak

Markets continued to suffer on Thursday morning, with trading halting twice amid growing concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. The S&P 500, Nasdaq and Dow were all down at least 7% after about 2 hours of trading on Thursday, the morning after President Trump addressed the nation about coronavirus and said he’d be stopping travel from Europe for 30 days — except from the United Kingdom — to try and limit the outbreak.

The three major averages all dropped 5% in pre-market activity, triggering the initial halt on Thursday. Then, only minutes after the markets opened, trading was halted again, following the S&P 500 diving 7% and triggering a circuit breaker that paused trading on the New York Stock Exchange for 15 minutes. This was the second time this week the S&P hit the 7% threshold and halted trading.

The Dow, meanwhile, was down nearly 1,700 points, or about 7.5% early Thursday — only two days after the Dow fell more than 2,000 points, marking the biggest single-day point drop since the 2008 financial crisis.

Several entertainment giants were unable to escape the wreckage. Disney’s recent slide continued on Thursday, with its stock dropping 9.5% to $95.58; less than a month ago, Disney was trading near $140 per share, but the combination of coronavirus and the exit of CEO Bob Iger in recent weeks has contributed to the severe drop.

AMC Holdings, meanwhile, fell 24% to less than $3 per share on Thursday, as investors worry movie fans will avoid theaters in the coming months. At the same time, IMAX shares were down about 11% to $13.02 per share. Viacom, Discovery, Lionsgate and Sony were all down more than 7% after a few hours of trading. And even companies someone could expect to benefit from people staying in more, like Netflix and Roku, were down more than 5% each.

Last night, President Trump shared a plan for offering $50 billion in low interest loans to businesses impacted by the market downturn, and also suggested pushing back the April 15 tax filing date.