Dow Jones plunges most since 2008 on coronavirus fears

The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all tumbled more than 4% Thursday.

February 27, 2020, 4:40 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 1,190 points, more than 4%, on Thursday as economic uncertainty over the spread of the novel coronavirus continued to rattle markets.

The losses mark the worst week for the Dow since the financial crash of 2008. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq each also plunged by more than 4%.

The sharp fall comes as public health officials warn that Americans should prepare for community spread of coronavirus in the U.S. and as companies warn investors of supply chain issues related to the outbreak.

A screen displays losses as traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Feb. 27, 2020.
Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

"Markets move sharply when fear and uncertainty are prevalent, and there is plenty of both right now," Greg McBride, the chief financial analyst for, said in a statement in response to Thursday's market drops.

McBride added that "investors should maintain a long-term focus and refrain from making decisions with long-term financial ramifications based on short-term volatility."

PHOTO: Trader Peter Tuchman works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020
Trader Peter Tuchman works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020.
Craig Ruttle/AP

"Friday is payday for many Americans. This week’s 401k contribution will get you a 'sale price' instead of the 'full price' retirement savers were paying just one paycheck ago," McBride said. "Economic uncertainty is a reminder to pad your emergency savings just in case. If you feel the need to do something, do that. But leave the retirement account alone."

The Dow's worst performer on Thursday was Microsoft, which fell 7%. The company announced late Wednesday COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions would affect projected revenues tied to the company's personal computing division.

Among the other worst performers were Dow Inc., Apple, Intel Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp., all of which fell by more than 6%.

Meanwhile, shares of Clorox reached an all-time high of $174.17 during intraday trading, closing at $168.70, up 0.4% on the day.

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