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Wall Street, Tech Stocks Suffer Opening Bell 2,000-Point Sell-Off; Trading Halted For 15 Minutes After Steep Decline

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- After two weeks of steady declines, Wall Street suffered its biggest sell-off since 2008 Monday, dropping more than 2,000 points as a 15-minute halt was ordered for trading during the session.

After the halt, trading began again and declines eased slightly. But by the closing bell the Dow was down 2,013.76 points. The drop was fueled by coronavirus fears and an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Anxiety continued to center on the growing coronavirus outbreak and it's impact on American industry, consumer spending and everyday life across the country.

By Sunday night, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported there were 164 confirmed cases with 11 deaths in 19 states. California has 114 of those cases with 69 being in the Bay Area.

Cruise ship stocks were also being plummeted. On Monday, the Grand Princess docked in Oakland with at least 21 crew members and passenger onboard infected with the coronavirus. It's the second major outbreak on a cruise ship. An outbreak on the Diamond Princess last month resulted in more than 700 infections and four deaths.

The outbreak has had a dramatic impact on how Bay Area companies are conducting business. Gap, headquartered in San Francisco, has told many of its employees to work from home as has many other companies.

CNET was reporting that Apple CEO Tim Cook has given most of his company's workforce permission to work from home, calling the outbreak an "unprecedented event" and a "challenging moment."

"Please feel free to work remotely if your job allows," for the week of March 9 to 13, Cook told employees in a memo obtained by Bloomberg. He said the policy impacts "areas with the greatest density of infections."

The FAANG stocks - Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google (Alphabet) -- Wall Street's financial back bone in the Silicon Valley has all lost significant value during the stock market's tumble.

Apple shares have dropped from a $327.20 high on Feb. 12th to $266.17 a share at the close on Monday. Amazon has tumbled from a high of $2,170.22 a share on Feb. 19 to $1,800.61 at Monday's close. Facebook shares have dropped from a high of $217.80 on Feb. 18th to $169.50 at the closing bell.

Meanwhile, Netflix was at $387.78 a share on Feb. 18 and had dropped to $349.49 on Monday. Alphabet high was $1,524.87 a share on Feb. 19 and dropped to $1,215.79 by closing.

The stock market also was reacting to an oil pricing war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Brent crude, the international standard, lost $9.50, or 20.1%, to $35.77 per barrel, as of 7:58 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday after earlier touching its lowest price since 2016. Benchmark U.S. crude fell $8.64 to $32.64.

The dramatic losses follow a 10.1% drop for U.S. oil on Friday, which was its biggest loss in more than five years. Prices are falling as Saudi Arabia, Russia and other oil-producing countries argue how much to cut production in order to prop up prices.

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