March 12 (UPI) — U.S. stock indices fell sharply again Wednesday as markets indicated concern over an oil slump and how governments are dealing with the spread of the coronavirus.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 1,464.94 points, or 5.86 percent, the S&P 500 dropped 4.89 percent and the Nasdaq slid 4.7 percent.
The Dow fell 20 percent below record market highs set last month, entering what is known as a bear market.
Major factors on U.S. markets have been a decline in oil prices and uncertainty over the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Earlier this week Saudi Arabia announced that it would expand production capacity, in a conflict with Russia over oil supplies. The expected oversupply of oil on the global market lowered the price per barrel in markets across the world.
The situation was similar in Asian and European markets. Gains that came after the Bank of England said it would cut interest rates were negated and U.S. Treasury bonds fell again.
The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic Wednesday as new cases spiked in Italy, Iran and other locations throughout the world.
Airline stocks including American, Delta, United and JetBlue all fell at least 4.3 percent while Norwegian Cruise Line stocks dropped 26.7 percent and Carnival fell 9.5 percent.
The White House has issued proposals to help stimulate the economy, including a cut in payroll taxes and an extension of the U.S. tax filing deadline past April 15 — which Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Congress Wednesday could add $200 billion to the U.S. economy.