Market pundits tend to embrace overblown words to describe big market moves to the downside: “bloodbath”, “pounding” and “nosedive”.
But all of those metaphors are fair game given the swiftness and severity of the sell-off that swept global stock markets this week, as the coronavirus outbreak continued to spread beyond China, heightening the risks of recession in the United States and globally.
After falling more than 1,000 points on Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average pared its losses to finish down 357.28 points or 1.39 percent.
For the week, the Dow lost more than 3,500 points, or 12 percent – well into correction territory, which is defined by a drop of 10 percent or more.
The broader S&P 500 also finished in correction territory, rounding out Friday with a weekly loss of 11.5 percent.
Both indexes saw their biggest weekly percentage losses since the global financial crisis of 2008.
The Nasdaq Composite Index managed to eke out a positive finish on Friday, with 0.89 point gain or 0.01 percent.
More than five trillion dollars in market capitalisation was lost globally this week – roughly equivalent to Japan’s yearly economic output as measured by gross domestic product.
Some relief was in the offing on Friday after US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell released a statement at 2:30pm Eastern time (19:30 GMT) saying the US central bank is closely monitoring the evolving risks from coronavirus and will “act as appropriate to support the economy”.
But not even the power of the Fed could fully contain investor fears about the mounting risks coronavirus presents to global growth.