The Wall Street sign is pictured at the New York Stock exchange (NYSE) in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

(Reuters) – Wall Street fell sharply on Monday after U.S. crude futures turned negative for the first time in history, underscoring the chaos the coronavirus pandemic has unleashed on the global economy.

The S&P energy index .SPNY tumbled 2.8% after the front-month May U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) contract CLc1 turned negative – unprecedented in history – with sellers offering buyers $37.63 a barrel.

With much of the global economy suspended due to the coronavirus, physical demand for crude has dried up, creating a global supply glut as billions of people stay home.

“Oil down is normally good for the rest of the sectors, but you can make the argument that it is so low that it’s not good for anybody in terms of what it’s going to do to unemployment and economic growth,” said Jake Dollarhide, chief executive officer of Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

At 2:26 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 1.79% at 23,807.69 points, while the S&P 500 .SPX lost 1.27% to 2,838.15.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 0.46% to 8,610.34.

Additional reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and C Nivedita in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski

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