Stocks – Dow Falls 700 Points at Open on Stimulus Delay Concerns

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By Geoffrey Smith — U.S. stock markets fell again at the open on Wednesday amid concerns about delays in the U.S. government and Congress agreeing stimulus measures to support the economy in the face of a spreading coronavirus outbreak. 

The initially fell 700 points, and by 9:37 AM ET (1337 GMT) had recovered marginally to be down 608 points, or 2.4%, while the S&P 500 was also down 2.4% and the was down 2.0%

All three major indices had risen nearly 5% on Tuesday in anticipation of President Donald Trump’s promised stimulus package. Trump had failed to present his promised measures after the close of trading on Tuesday, after flagging what he said would be a “very major” package a day earlier.

Instead, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly begun talks on what would amount to a bipartisan package of measures, which Senate Leader Mitch McConnell said his party would likely support.

The stop-start nature of the U.S. response has made it appear unfocused by comparison with the likes of China, where government authority is not constrained by democratic checks and balances.

European governments have meanwhile begun taking more and more drastic steps to support their economies, with the U.K. announcing a combined fiscal and monetary stimulus package on Wednesday and Italy signalling over 16 billion euros ($17.8 billion) in new measures. 

 Among individual stocks, PepsiCo (NASDAQ:) stock fell 3.0% after agreeing to buy energy drink maker Rockstar for $3.5 billion up front in cash, with further conditional payments over the next 15 years. 

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