Dow Drops Nearly 900 Points In 2nd Day Of Markets Selloff The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 879 points. That's on top of Monday's drop, when the Dow tumbled more than 1,000 points.

Dow Drops 1,900 Points In 2 Days As Markets Sell Off On Fears Of Coronavirus Spread

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Coronavirus concerns triggered another steep drop on Wall Street today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 900 points. That is on top of yesterday, when it tumbled more than a thousand points. The outbreak in China appears to have peaked, but investors are worried about the growing number of COVID-19 cases in other countries and a warning from U.S. health officials that the virus could hit closer to home. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Just last week, the S&P 500 stock index was hitting record highs. Now it's fallen more than 6% in just the last two days. Financial analyst Greg McBride of Bankrate.com says many outbreaks of coronavirus in Italy, Iran and South Korea have left investors wondering where the virus will strike next.

GREG MCBRIDE: Markets hate uncertainty. And right now, there is a ton of uncertainty about the coronavirus and what impact does this have on economic growth, both globally, as well as here in the U.S.

HORSLEY: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seemed to amplify those worries today when officials warned that Americans should prepare for a possible spread of the coronavirus in this country. As investors dumped stocks, some sought the shelter of government bonds. McBride says that pushed the yield on the 10-year Treasury note to an all-time low - barely above 1.3%.

MCBRIDE: Those low interest rates are a reflection of the fear that a lot of investors have globally about slower economic growth.

HORSLEY: President Trump often points to a booming stock market as a barometer of his own performance. With the market tanking for the second day in a row, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow tried to do some damage control. Kudlow told CNBC while the coronavirus has exacted a heavy human toll, especially in China, there's little evidence so far that it's hurting the U.S. economy.

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LARRY KUDLOW: The head of the World Health Organization today said, let us not overreact. I think that's an important point. I will make the same point on the economy. The economic side - there is no tragedy in the United States.

HORSLEY: There is some upside to this week's market turbulence. McBride says those rock bottom Treasury yields are likely to push mortgage rates even lower.

MCBRIDE: If you're a homebuyer, if you can find a house to buy, from a mortgage standpoint, you've got a little bit more buying power at your back. These lower rates mean that monthly payment's going to be just a little bit lower.

HORSLEY: McBride says long-term investors might also find some bargains in the beaten-down stock market.

MCBRIDE: If you're willing to buckle your seat belt and ride out this volatility, yes, you can buy stocks at a discount versus what it was selling at just a week ago.

HORSLEY: McBride cautions, though, the wild market gyrations are likely to be with us for a while, so long as the full extent of the coronavirus epidemic and the resulting economic fallout remain unknown.

Scott Horsley, NPR News, Washington.

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