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Coronavirus: TSX, Wall Street pause trading for a 3rd time as stocks collapse

Coronavirus outbreak: DOW closes down almost 3,000 as COVID-19 concerns continue to mount
WATCH ABOVE: Coronavirus outbreak: DOW closes down almost 3,000 as COVID-19 concerns continue to mount

For the third time in the span of eight days, both the Toronto Stock Exchange and Wall Street were forced to pause trading as financial markets opened in North America on Monday, despite dramatic moves by central banks over the weekend to shore up investor confidence in the face of mounting coronavirus fears.

Both the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange implemented a Level 1 market-wide circuit breaker that put equity trading on pause for 15 minutes, with trading resuming at 9:46 a.m. ET in Canada and 9:45 a.m. ET in the U.S.

Coronavirus outbreak: Bank of Canada slashes policy rate to 0.75%
Coronavirus outbreak: Bank of Canada slashes policy rate to 0.75%

At 9:50 a.m. ET in Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 1569.17 points to 12,147.16.

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At 9:30 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 2,250.46 points, or 9.71 per cent, at 20,935.16; the S&P 500 was down 220.55 points, or 8.14 per cent, at 2,490.47; and the Nasdaq Composite was down 482.15 points, or 6.12 per cent, at 7,392.73.

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On Sunday, the Fed lowered the target for its federal funds rate to between zero and 0.25 per cent in an effort to bolster market sentiment. It said it would maintain that target range until it is confident “the economy has weathered recent events.”

Also on Sunday, the Bank of Canada, along with the Fed, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the Swiss National Bank and the European Central Bank, announced co-ordinated action to enhance liquidity in an effort to contain the economic impact of the pandemic.

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Central banks in Japan, Australia and New Zealand announced dramatic monetary easing in a co-ordinated effort not seen since the 2008 financial crisis.

Central bank efforts, however, seemed unable to boost global investor sentiment.

Trading halts are meant to help soften market crashes by interrupting steep stock sell-offs and giving investors a better chance to assess the situation. In both the U.S. and Canada, a Level 1 trading halt shuts down trading for 15 minutes after a drop of seven per cent. Level 2 pauses trading for 15 minutes after a 13 per cent plunge, and Level 3 shuts down the entire trading day if the index falls by 20 per cent.

— With a file from Reuters

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