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Delaware-based stocks hammered in turbulent sell-off

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The S&P 500 dropped 7% in five minutes Monday, March 9. It closed the day less than 1% away from a bear market over fears spurred by coronavirus and low oil prices. | GRAPH BY GOOGLE

NEW YORK – All 12 Delaware-based publicly traded companies saw losses in a hectic stock market Monday, as the sell-off action continued amid concerns over coronavirus and falling oil prices.

The New York Stock Exchange was already reeling from a 12% drop from its February high, spurred by the growth of coronavirus in the U.S. and Europe, when news broke over the weekend that Saudi Arabia and Russia would not cooperate in a mutual easing of oil production to stabilize prices amid the virus’s impact.

When the market opened Monday morning, a surge of selling forced the market to engage its “circuit breaker” mechanism, halting trading after the S&P 500 lost 7% of its value in just five minutes. The little-used regulation ceased trading on the market for 15 minutes, preventing panic selling from overwhelming the market.

By the end of the trading day Monday, the S&P 500 was able to hold its loss to 7.5% but pushing the U.S. to less than 1% away from the first bear market in 11 years.

Amid that flurry of selling were Delaware’s dozen companies, which saw losses between 1% and 22%.

The worst hit was Chemours, which dropped about 22.5%, shaving more than $3 a share in value to a close price of $10.44. Chemours was far from the only chemical company hit, with Dupont also losing 13.25% to close at $35.13 on Monday.

In an investor note, Morgan Stanley analyst Vincent Andrews said that lower oil “would flatten the global polyethylene cost curve and create investor concern that U.S.-based prices/margins will need to decline” for chemical companies.

Financial companies also saw steep losses Monday, including The Bancorp (16.9%), Navient (13.5%), WSFS (9.6%) and Sallie Mae (6.1%), as investors believe there will be less appetite to take on loans in 2020.

Agriscience company Corteva dropped 8.9%, while pharmaceutical maker Incyte dropped 6.5% and technology firm InterDigital dropped 5.8% Monday.

Even regional utility companies like Artesian (0.6%) and Chesapeake Utilities (3.6%) couldn’t escape the selling.

Dover Motorsports Inc., the owner of Dover International Speedway, dropped 4.4% Monday.

Notably, event owners and promoters across the country have been dealing with large cancellations in recent days in order to limit the spread of coronavirus. The South by Southwest Festival in Texas, Ultra Music Festival in Florida and BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament in California are among the upcoming cancelled events.

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