Coronavirus: S&P 500 index drops 7%, stock trading briefly halted on TSX, NYSE

The S&P 500 index fell on Wednesday when trading resumed after an initial automatic 15-minute cutout, as investors priced in a complete breakdown in business activity and consumer spending from the coronavirus pandemic.

With airports and hotels emptying and airlines asking staff to take unpaid leave to stem losses, the S&P 1500 airlines index sank 27.6 per cent, while shares in Hilton, Marriott and Hyatt hotels fell by 25.5 per cent to 36.5 per cent.

The Toronto Stock Exchange was also briefly halted, but started up again just after 1 p.m. ET.

U.S. President Trump’s request for Congress to approve $500 billion in cash payments to taxpayers along with $50 billion in loans for airlines did little to stem the bleeding.

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