The Latest: Fiat Chrysler idles most plants in Europe

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is suspending production across most of its European plants through March 27

The Latest on financial markets (all times local):

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is suspending production across most of its European plants through March 27 as businesses large and small take a hit from nationwide lockdowns to contain the virus outbreak.

The Italian-American carmaker said Monday it is closing six plants in Italy that make cars under the Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Maserati nameplates as well as a plant in Serbia that makes the Fiat 500L and one in Poland that makes the Fiat 500.

The production suspension was taken beyond measures already undertaken to sanitize work and rest areas, create greater distance between workers and facilitate remote working, which is now available to employees across the globe.

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Global stock markets and U.S. futures have fallen in a rebuke from investors to emergency central bank action to shore up economic growth as anti-virus controls shut down business and travel.

The selloff followed the Federal Reserve’s surprise decision to slash interest rates.

Benchmarks in London and Frankfurt were down about 7%. Sydney’s benchmark plunged 9.7% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 4%. Japan’s benchmark sank 2.5% after the Bank of Japan announced it was expanding its monetary easing and providing 0% loans for companies that are running short of cash due to the virus outbreak.

Brent crude, the international oil standard, fell almost 9% while gold gained. Futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow industrials fell 5%, triggering a halt in trading.