The stock market cratered upon opening Monday morning, quickly triggering a 15-minute pause in trading after the S&P 500 fell 7 percent. The 208-point drop flipped a “circuit breaker” four minutes after the market opened.
If the S&P continues dropping, a 13 percent decline would trigger another 15-minute pause in trading. A 20 percent decline after that would end trading for the day. To hit that ominous benchmark Monday, the S&P would need to fall 594 points. The circuit breakers, designed to prevent massive market meltdowns, were put in place after October 1987 crash now known as Black Monday.
Monday has seen stocks across the globe slump, with markets in Asia, Europe, and Australia plunging on fears over coronavirus and a new problem with oil markets. The Times explains:
Saudi Arabia slashed its export oil prices over the weekend in what is likely to be the start of a price war aimed at Russia but with potentially devastating repercussions for Russia’s ally Venezuela, Saudi Arabia’s enemy Iran and even American oil companies …
The Saudi decision to cut prices by nearly 10 percent on Saturday was a dramatic move in retaliation for Russia’s refusal on Friday to join the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in a large production cut as the coronavirus continues to slow the global economy and, with it, demand for oil.
Trading resumed at 9:49 a.m. after the 15-minute break.