A trader holds his hand to his head after trading was halted at the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, March 18, 2020,  in New…
A trader holds his hand to his head after trading was halted for the day at the New York Stock Exchange, March 18, 2020, in New York. Remove

WASHINGTON - Global stock markets were mixed Thursday as investors continued to deal with the economic uncertainty of the coronavirus outbreak.

Japan’s Nikkei Index opened in positive territory but slipped as the day went on and closed down 1 percent.  Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 2 percent, while China’s Shanghai Index fell 1 percent.

Markets in Britain, France and Germany showed gains in early trading after the European Central Bank launched an $800 billion stimulus program.

U.S. futures pointed to small losses when those markets open Thursday.

Those declines followed huge losses in U.S. markets Wednesday that sent the Dow Jones Industrial average to a three-year low. 

The Dow and the S&P 500 closed down 6 percent, and the NASDAQ shed 5 percent. 

All the gains in the U.S. markets since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017 are gone, and the threat of a recession is very real, giving Trump less ammunition to use against the Democrats in the November election.

The Dow climbed 1,000 points Tuesday after the Trump administration proposed a nearly $1 trillion economic stimulus package.

Traders work at the New York Stock Exchange as the market closes, March 18, 2020 in New York. Major U.S. stock indexes closed sharply lower on Wall Street as fears of a prolonged coronavirus-induced recession took hold.

But analysts said the uncertainty of how long the coronavirus pandemic will last and how much more it will spread was shaking up the markets and was a big reason why the stimulus failed to calm investors Wednesday.

With global travel at a standstill, less demand for oil sent U.S. crude down 24 percent to its lowest level in more than 17 years.

The 10-year yield on U.S. Treasury notes rose more than 1 percent Wednesday, as investors looked for safer places for their money.

Some experts say this is a great time for buyers, with many stock prices at a three-year low.  But the bargain hunters will have to make their trades electronically. The New York Stock Exchange said Wednesday that it would temporarily close its trading floor after two people tested positive for the coronavirus.

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