Stocks tanked on Friday as the fate of the $2 trillion economic relief package suddenly came into question overnight.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by around 900 points at the opening bell on Friday, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq down by around 3 percent each.
Members of Congress were scrambling to get back to Washington due to fears the bill might not pass by the voice vote planned for Friday after being advised the measure could require an in-person vote instead of remotely.
Optimism that the vote would pass had carried stocks into a three-day rally, despite Thursday’s staggering unemployment numbers that surpassed 3.2 million. Labor experts pointed out that the real number of jobless claims was likely far higher than the recorded figure, since many state websites had experienced technical difficulties, resulting in incomplete claims for thousands of Americans attempting to file for benefits.
With around 2 billion people on lockdown across the globe to halt further spread of the coronavirus, Angel Gurría, secretary general of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, said it was “wishful thinking” to think that the global economy would rebound with any speed, and noted that pandemic has already had a greater impact than the Great Recession.
Oil sank to around $23 a barrel after the Department of Energy said it would relinquish its plan to replenish the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
All three major averages are now down more than 20 percent from recent highs, as investors flee the markets in favor of cash safety such as money market funds.