- The Washington Times - Monday, March 16, 2020

Stocks plunged again on Monday to wipe out nearly all of the three-year-long Trump rally, while U.S. airlines reeling from the coronavirus pandemic asked for $50 billion in federal aid and the White House weighed an economic rescue plan that is likely to top $800 billion.

President Trump conceded the U.S. could be headed into a recession, but he predicted the markets would surge once the crisis subsides.

“It may be,” Mr. Trump said. “We’re not thinking in terms of recession. We’re thinking in terms of the virus.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 2,997 points, or 12.9%, to close at 20,188. It was the Dow’s single biggest point drop in history.

That’s more than 30% off its high just last month of 29,568. When Mr. Trump was inaugurated in January 2017, the Dow stood at 19,827.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 12.3%, while the S&P 500 was down 11.9%. Stocks fell so rapidly at the opening bell that the drop triggered an automatic temporary halt in operations for the third time in the past six trading days.

The massive market losses, worst on a percentage basis since 1987, came despite the Federal Reserve’s emergency actions on Sunday to lower interest rates and pump more money into the economy to combat the impact of the coronavirus.

The Fed on Sunday slashed interest rates by a full percentage point to zero, and said it would buy $700 billion in Treasury securities in a massive emergency move to protect the U.S. economy from the pandemic. Analysts increasingly are predicting a recession.

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