U.S. stocks closed down Friday, ending the worst week for the markets since the 2008 financial crisis.
The major U.S. markets were down more than 12% from where they began Monday, as traders’ fears grew that the coronavirus would throw the U.S. economy into a deep recession.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped more than 900 points Friday, extending weekly losses to 17%. The S&P 500 fell 15% for the week, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index took a 12.6% loss for the week.
All three markets are down more than 20% from their highs earlier this year and have now become bear markets, which is when falling prices encourage selling.
Stocks had opened higher Friday on investor optimism that measures taken in the United States and elsewhere would stimulate world economies, but by midday the markets had fallen into the red.
The United States and other countries are rolling out economic stimulus packages to try to ease investor concerns about the pandemic and help prevent a global recession that some economists are predicting.
U.S. Senate Republicans proposed a $1 trillion economic stimulus package on Thursday, one day after the European Central Bank launched an $819 billion bond-buying program to protect the eurozone economy from the impact of COVID-19.
Asian and European markets closed higher on the last trading day of the week, but the gains fell far short of reversing massive declines over the past few weeks.