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Monday's stock market declines weren't unexpected, though the extent of losses was shocking.
Investors had been selling stocks for the previous two weeks on coronavirus fears, starting immediately after U.S. benchmark indexes made record highs on Feb. 12, 2020.
A "dead cat bounce" last week didn't fool seasoned traders, who saw huge inflows into U.S. Treasuries last week as a warning sign there was more equity selling to come.
As COVID-19 hotspots cropped up across the globe and infections rose along with fatalities in U.S. cities and states over the weekend, right on cue, sell orders flooded brokerages before markets even opened Monday morning.
So many sell orders in fact, markets couldn't open. Instantaneous and extraordinary selling knocked stocks "down limit," or 7%, at the open, triggering a "circuit breaker" halt to trading for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, exchanges let stocks trade again, and they fell another 1% before buyers, probably computer-driven algorithms, started buying beaten-down names like Microsoft and Amazon.
But buying volume was thin all day, and sellers more often overwhelmed attempts to lift stocks higher.
Stocks closed 144 points off their session lows of 2,158, ending down 2,013.76 points to 23,851.02. That's a 7.79% drop in one day and a 19.3% drop since Feb. 12.
Most evident in yesterday's carnage were the market's worst enemies: fear and panic. That tells me something about what I'm watching today… Full Story