Oil prices crash, US stocks slump amid mounting virus fears

Wall Street stocks cratered Monday, falling as much as 8 percent amid an oil price crash and worries about the rising economic toll from the coronavirus epidemic.

Near 1905 GMT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 24,085.36, down nearly 1,800 points, about 380 points above its session low.

The broad-based S&P 500 sank 6.7 percent to 2,774.04, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 6.0 percent to 8,058.36.

The dramatic sell-off followed gloomy sessions in Asia and Europe and came as economists slashed their forecasts and mulled over the prospects of a global recession as there are further signs of economic fallout.

"The return to business as usual in China has been slower than we had expected, while the spread of the coronavirus and associated disruption elsewhere has broadened," said a note from Oxford Economics.

"A global recession may not yet be an inevitable consequence of the coronavirus outbreak, but even a modest surge in bad news could make it our baseline view."

Stocks were in the red the entire session. Trading was halted for 15 minutes shortly after the market opened, triggered by a requirement to suspend activity after the S&P 500 lost seven percent.

Oil-linked shares were an especially ugly place for investors as US oil prices ended 25 percent lower at $31.13 a barrel after Saudi Arabia slashed prices on crude following failed OPEC talks last week.

In London, Brent oil futures for delivery in May finished 24 percent lower at $34.36 a barrel.