U.S. financial markets began 2020 with the continued momentum seen late in 2019 on the easing of trade tensions, steady economic growth, and an accommodative monetary policy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 29,000 and the S&P 500 closed above 3300 for the first time in history. The markets were able to shrug off concerns about rising geopolitical tensions with Iran and the impeachment trial in the Senate until fears about the coronavirus started to escalate.
U.S. equity markets declined by roughly 3 percent in the last six days of January as the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global health emergency. Adding to those concerns is the lack of transparency about the origins of the virus and the general distrust of government institutions.