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Stocks plunge 2,999 points, worst drop in three decades, amid coronavirus concerns

The losses accelerated in the last hour of trading as President Donald Trump advised Americans to avoid large gatherings.

Stocks dropped nearly 13% by the end of trading Monday on Wall Street after experiencing another temporary halt to trading earlier in the day as huge swaths of the economy come closer to shutting down, from airlines to restaurants. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up closing down 2,997 points. 

Trading was halted within the first few minutes of trading Monday, and the S&P 500's losses deepened after it resumed. Emergency actions taken by the Federal Reserve late Sunday to prop up the economy and get financial markets running smoothly again may have raised fears even further, some investors said. 

Even for a market beset by volatility in recent weeks, the losses were staggering.

 The 12.9% drop in the Dow was its worst since 1987. 

The losses accelerated in the last hour of trading as President Donald Trump advised Americans to avoid large gatherings. He also said he sees a chance of recession and promised help to the struggling airline industry.  

The S&P 500 was down 9.8% Monday morning. If the index falls 13%, a second circuit breaker is triggered and trading is halted for another 15 minutes. The Dow Industrial Average fell 2,725, or 11.8%. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 11.7%

European markets were also down about 10%. The price of crude oil dropped 8%. Bond prices soared as investors sought safety.  

Asian markets were also taking a beating in Monday trading as more governments imposed anti-virus controls that are shutting down business and travel.

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London and Frankfurt opened down more than 2%. Sydney's benchmark plunged 9.7% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 4%. Japan's benchmark sank 2.5% after the Bank of Japan announced it was expanding its monetary easing and providing 0% loans for companies that are running short of cash due to the virus outbreak. 

It has been a dizzying couple of weeks for the Dow, which closed down more than 2,000 points twice last week -- the first and second time that has ever happened. But it also had its best one-day gain ever, 1,985 points on Friday as President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in the minutes before trading ended.