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Global stock markets plunge on oil crash, coronavirus spread

It's expected to be one of the worst days on the stock market since the financial crisis.

The breakout of an oil price war in the middle of the coronavirus crisis has sent global stock markets plunging on Monday morning.

So severe was the drop that trading was stopped on Wall Street for 15 minutes – the first time this has happened since after 9/11 – after the S&P 500 index fell by 7 percent and the Dow Jones 7.29 percent shortly after the opening bell at 8:30 a.m.

Stock markets have been increasingly volatile in recent weeks as the coronavirus has spread globally, with the Federal Reserve making an effort to boost them last week by cutting interest rates by 0.5 percent.

But fears over the virus have been exacerbated over the weekend thanks to an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

While demand for oil had already dropped amid the coronavirus outbreak, Saudi Arabia announced over the weekend it would be cutting its prices and increasing its production of oil in spite of this.

It comes after Russia on Friday also declined to join on Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreement to cut oil production.

This will likely mean prices at the gas pumps will tumble, but it's also going to have a significant impact on U.S. oil producers including those in North Dakota's Bakken fields, who can't produce oil with the same efficiency as Saudi companies.

For investors, particularly with those with 401Ks or IRAs, NPR reports that the advice from financial experts has been to stay the course, with younger savers having enough time to recover from a crash, while those closer retirement likely to have less exposure to stocks.

Plunging prices are taking their toll on Minnesota-based companies as well. Here's how some of Minnesota's Fortune 500 companies shortly after the market opened at 8:30 a.m. CT.

Target – down 5.84 percent (-$6.19)

Best Buy – down 9.08 percent (-$6.70)

3M – down 4.6 percent (-$7.06)

UnitedHealth – down 6.83 percent (-$19.40)

General Mills – down 5.6 percent (-$3.10)

Ecolab – down 6 percent (-$11.66)

Ameriprise – down 9.67 percent (-$12.24)

Xcel Energy – down 2.01 percent (-$1.41)

U.S. Bancorp – down 10.03 percent (-$4.26)

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