Markets

Here's what happened to the stock market on Wednesday

President Donald Trump speaks at the daily coronavirus briefing joined by Vice President Mike Pence in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on March 22, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Tasos Katopodis | Getty Images

Dow Jones Industrial Average drops 973 points

The Dow slid 973.65 points, or 4.44%, to close at 20,943.51. The S&P 500 closed 4.41% lower at 2,470.50. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 4.41% to 7,360.58. Stocks fell sharply on the first day of the new quarter amid mounting concerns over the coronavirus and its health and economic ramifications.

'Painful' weeks ahead

President Donald Trump said Tuesday night the U.S. should prepare for a "very, very painful two weeks" as more cases are reported. White House officials are projecting between 100,000 and 240,000 virus deaths in the U.S. Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state's models are showing a high death rate through July. "There's still tremendous uncertainty," said Patrick Kaser, portfolio manager at Brandywine Global. "We can look at history as a guidepost for the market and the economy, but there's not a perfect scenario."

American Express leads Dow lower, cruise stocks fall

American Express was among the worst-performing stocks in the Dow, falling more than 9%. Cruise shares fell broadly, with Carnival falling more than 33% and Norwegian Cruise Line closing lower by nearly 13%.

What happens next?

The weekly jobless claims report is scheduled for release Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Walgreens Boots Alliance is slated to release its latest quarterly figures before the bell.

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