The coronavirus proved strong enough to end an 11-year bull run for U.S. equities. The S&P 500 opened Thursday 4% lower than Wednesday's close, falling 7.4% shortly thereafter, tripping the New York Stock Exchange's circuit breaker and halting trading for the second time this week. With those drops Thursday, the market officially crossed the 20% drawdown threshold signaling the end of the bull market, and what could be the start of a fresh bear market.
Bears awaken in time for spring
The global spread of COVID-19 has led many to avoid crowded areas, including offices, schools and sporting events, and consequently to halt or postpone spending. This retreat has understandably spooked the markets into concerns over economic growth over the mid- to long term as their declines have moved lockstep with reports of increasing numbers of new virus cases.
The 10-year Treasury was yielding 0.7% Thursday morning as its spread relative to high-grade corporate debt ballooned to 1.54%.