Coronavirus: Stocks slide at the open despite Fed’s massive credit boost

U.S. stocks opened lower on Monday as a brief spurt of optimism from an aggressive credit boost by the Federal Reserve was overshadowed by the still rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 145.62 points, or 0.76 per cent, at the open to 19,028.36. The S&P 500 opened lower by 14.21 points, or 0.62 per cent, at 2,290.71. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 32.23 points, or 0.47 per cent, to 6,847.28 at the opening bell.

In Toronto, the benchmark S&P/TSX composite index was down 318.71 points to 11,851.81 at 9:50 a.m. ET.

The Canadian dollar was trading at 69.49 cents US compared to an average of 69.77 cents US on Friday.

The Federal Reserve on Monday mounted an extraordinary new array of programs to offset the “severe disruptions” to the economy caused by the coronarvirus outbreak, backstopping an unprecedented range of credit for households, small businesses and major employers.

The new programs mean the Fed will lend against student loans, credit card loans, and U.S. government backed-loans to small businesses, and buy bonds of larger employers and make loans to them in what amounts to four years of bridge financing. A new “Main Street Business Lending Program” that will extend credit to small- and-medium sized businesses will also be announced “soon,” the Fed said

— With files from the Canadian Press

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