The Stock Market Is In Free Fall On Coronavirus Fears. How Much Worse Will It Get?

Topline: The U.S. stock market has officially plunged into correction territory—at the fastest rate ever recorded, suffering its worst losses since the 2008 financial crisis this week amid ongoing panic over the spreading coronavirus and its impact on the global economy.

  • This week alone, the Dow Jones industrial average fell a total of 14%, the S&P 500 by 13% and the Nasdaq Composite by 12.3%.
  • The Dow plummeted nearly 1,200 points on Thursday—its biggest one-day drop ever, thanks to the coronavirus, which has now spread to at least 49 countries in a matter of weeks. Those losses continued on Friday, though the drop was somewhat less severe: The Dow fell 1.4%, while the S&P 500 sank 0.8%.
  • In a statement to reassure anxious investors, the Federal Reserve said on Friday that it was monitoring the “evolving risks to economic activity” posed by the coronavirus and further pledged to “act as appropriate” to keep the U.S. economy stable.
  • Some experts are skeptical any action from the central bank can stem market fallout from the coronavirus; Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic advisor for Allianz, told CNBC on Thursday that “markets will start freezing up even if the Fed cuts rates, which I think they will.”
  • National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow on Tuesday told CNBC that the virus is unlikely to become a full-fledged economic crisis, and described this week’s sell-off as a good buying opportunity. That same day, however, the CDC warned that the American public should brace for major disruptions from the coronavirus.
  • Among the stocks that have been hard hit this week are Apple (which is now flirting with bear market territory after falling 20% off its record highs) and American Airlines, which fell more than 25% this week.

Tangent: Hundreds of companies, from Apple and Nike to Starbucks and Microsoft, have issued warnings that the coronavirus will impact financial results for the first quarter and beyond. In a note on Wednesday, investment banking giant Goldman Sachs revised down its estimate for U.S. corporate earnings in 2020, forecasting 0% earnings growth for 2020 as a result of the outbreak.

Chief critic: “Markets are much too negative on the coronavirus. . . . The market was too expensive earlier in the year, but the coronavirus panic is overdone,” says Vital Knowledge founder Adam Crisfaulli. He points out that though the economic and corporate earnings fallout from the coronavirus will be severe, economic activity in China is normalizing, and that should help the bulk of the fallout remain confined to the first quarter.

Crucial quotes: “The global stock sell-off is showing no signs of slowing down,” says Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda. He predicts the major indexes could “easily” enter bear market territory, though “expectations are still pretty high that the market will eventually snap back.”

“It has been a brutal week,” says Mark Freeman, chief investment officer at Socorro Asset Management. He expects a further sell-off next week, as investors wait to see how the situation evolves and how the Fed will respond, but says that “it is too early for the Covid-19 crisis to have a material impact on [U.S. economic] data.”

“This week reminded many investors of 2008, which isn’t a happy memory,” says Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist for LPL Financial. “Nonetheless, remember that the overall economic backdrop is still healthy in the U.S., but when fear grips, that doesn’t matter.”

“The impact to the economy will be severe, but not enough to create a recession (e.g., two consecutive quarters of negative growth),” says Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance. “It is the uncertainty that is most difficult to price in, so people are selling in the advance of concrete information.”

Crucial statistic: The benchmark U.S. ten-year Treasury yield hit a new bottom on Friday, falling below 1.12%.

Key background: Stock market losses accelerated after the CDC confirmed the first case of “community transmission” of the coronavirus in Sacramento, California. Globally, more than 83,700 people have been infected as of Friday, with more than 2,800 dead. Earlier this week, Italy, South Korea and Iran emerged as new coronavirus hot spots outside of China, causing further concern that the outbreak will spread to other major economies. The World Health Organization said on Friday that the virus now poses a “very high” risk at a global level.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Send me a secure tip.

I am a New York—based reporter for Forbes covering breaking news, with a focus on financial topics. Previously, I wrote about investing for Money Magazine and was an intern at Forbes in 2015 and 2016. I graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2018, majoring in International Relations and Modern History. Follow me on Twitter @skleb1234 or email me at sklebnikov@forbes.com

Source: The Stock Market Is In Free Fall On Coronavirus Fears. How Much Worse Will It Get?

Investors are on the retreat world-wide as fears of the coronavirus deepen. Supply chains are starting to falter and tourists are staying home. The virus is also sparking the sell-off of pandemic bonds. As the business community struggles to predict the coronavirus’ economic fallout, observers warn the virus could be the final blow that throws the world economy into recession. The Dow Jones had its worst one day point drop in history, tumbling almost 4 and a half percent. That sentiment spilled over to Asia with Tokyo’s Nikkei shedding 3 point 6 percent today. And Hong Kong’s Hang Seng also closed down 2 point 4 percent. Subscribe: https://www.youtube.com/user/deutsche… For more news go to: http://www.dw.com/en/ Follow DW on social media: ►Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deutschewell… ►Twitter: https://twitter.com/dwnews ►Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dw_stories/ Für Videos in deutscher Sprache besuchen Sie: https://www.youtube.com/channel/deuts… #Coronavirus #dwNews

Dow Drops More Than 1,000 as COVID-19 Outbreak Threatens Economy

Specialist Erica Fredrickson works with a colleague on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. Stocks are opening sharply lower on Wall Street, pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 700 points, as virus cases spread beyond China, threatening to disrupt the global economy. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped more than 1,000 points Monday in the worst day for the stock market in two years as investors worry that the spread of a viral outbreak that began in China will weaken global economic growth.

Traders sought safety in U.S. government bonds, gold and high-dividend stocks like utilities and real estate. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to the lowest level in more than three years.

Technology stocks accounted for much of the broad market slide, which wiped out all of the Dow’s and S&P 500’s gains for the year.

More than 79,000 people worldwide have been infected by the new coronavirus. China, where the virus originated, still has the majority of cases and deaths. The rapid spread to other countries is raising anxiety about the threat the outbreak poses to the global economy.

“Stock markets around the world are beginning to price in what bond markets have been telling us for weeks – that global growth is likely to be impacted in a meaningful way due to fears of the coronavirus,” said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance.

The Dow lost 1,031.61 points, or 3.6%, to 27,960.80. At its low point, it was down 1,079 points.

The S&P 500 index skidded 111.86 points, or 3.4%, to 3,225.89. The Nasdaq dropped 355.31 points, or 3.7%, to 9,221.28 – it’s biggest loss since December 2018.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks gave up 50.50 points, or 3%, to 1,628.10.

Investors looking for safe harbors bid up prices for U.S. government bonds and gold. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell sharply, to 1.37% from 1.47% late Friday. It was at 1.90% at the start of the year. Gold prices jumped 1.7%.

Crude oil prices slid 3.7%. Aside from air travel, the virus poses an economic threat to global shipping.

Benchmark crude oil fell $1.95 to settle at $51.43 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, dropped $2.20 to close at $56.30 a barrel.

The slump in U.S. indexes followed a sell-off in markets overseas as a surge in cases of the disease in South Korea and Europe rattled investors.

Germany’s DAX slid 4% and Italy’s benchmark index dropped 5.4%. South Korea’s Kospi shed 3.9% and markets in Asia fell broadly.

South Korea is now on its highest alert for infectious diseases after cases there spiked. Italy reported a sharp rise in cases and a dozen towns in the northern, more industrial part of that country are under quarantine. The nation now has the biggest outbreak in Europe, prompting officials to cancel Venice’s famed Carnival, along with soccer matches and other public gatherings.

There are also more cases of the virus being reported in the Middle East as it spreads to Iran, Iraq, and Kuwait, among others.

The viral outbreak threatens to crimp global economic growth and hurt profits and revenue for a wide range of businesses. Companies from technology giant Apple to athletic gear maker Nike have already warned about a hit to their bottom lines. Airlines and other companies that depend on travelers are facing pain from cancelled plans and shuttered locations.

Technology companies were among the worst hit by the sell-off. Apple, which depends on China for a lot of business, slid 4.8%. Microsoft dropped 4.3%. Banks were also big losers. JPMorgan Chase fell 2.7% and Bank of America slid 4.7%.

Airlines and cruise ship operators also slumped. American Airlines lost 8.5%, Delta Air Lines dropped 6.3%, Carnival skidded 9.4% and Royal Caribbean Cruises tumbled 9%.

Gilead Sciences climbed 4.6% and was among the few bright spots. The biotechnology company is testing a potential drug to treat the new coronavirus. Bleach-maker Clorox was also a standout, rising 1.5%.

Utilities and real estate companies held up better than most sectors. Investors tend to favor those industries, which carry high dividends and hold up relatively well during periods of turmoil, when they’re feeling fearful.

The rotation into defensive sectors has made utilities and real estate the biggest gainers this year, while technology stocks have lost ground.

“The yields have been moving lower all year, so that’s providing a tail wind for utilities, for real estate,” said Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Baird. “In the face of this heightened uncertainty, especially if it’s centered overseas, tech is going to bear some of the brunt of that because it’s been so popular, because it’s done so well, and because it has so much exposure to Asia.”

In the eyes of some analysts, Monday’s tank job for stocks means they’re just catching up to the bond market, where fear has been dominant for months.

U.S. government bonds are seen as some of the safest possible investments, and investors have been piling into them throughout 2020, even as stocks overcame stumbles to set more record highs. The 10-year yield on Monday was near its intraday record low of 1.325% set in July 2016, according to Tradeweb. The 30-year Treasury yield fell further after setting its own record low, down to 1.83% from 1.92% late Friday.

Traders are increasingly certain that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates at least once in 2020 to help prop up the economy. They’re pricing in a nearly 95% probability of a cut this year, according to CME Group. A month ago, they saw only a 68% probability.

Of course, some analysts say stocks have been rising in recent weeks precisely because of the drop in yields. Bonds are offering less in interest after the Federal Reserve lowered rates three times last year — the first such cuts in more than a decade — and amid low inflation. When bonds are paying such meager amounts, many investors say there’s little real competition other than stocks for their money.

The view has become so hardened that “There Is No Alternative,” or TINA, has become a popular acronym on Wall Street. Even with Monday’s sharp drops, the S&P 500 is still within 4.2% of its record set earlier this month.

In other commodities trading Monday, wholesale gasoline fell 4 cents to $1.61 per gallon, heating oil declined 8 cents to $1.61 per gallon and natural gas fell 8 cents to $1.83 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold rose $27.80 to $1,672.40 per ounce, silver rose 35 cents to $18.87 per ounce and copper fell 3 cents to $2.59 per pound. The dollar fell to 110.74 Japanese yen from 111.62 yen on Friday. The euro weakened to $1.0842 from $1.0858.

AP Business Writer Stan Choe contributed.

By Elaine Kurtenbach / AP February 24, 2020

Source: Dow Drops More Than 1,000 as COVID-19 Outbreak Threatens Economy

All three major stock market indexes plummeted Monday amid fears of rising inflation and increased interest rates. At its lowest point, the Dow fell 1,600 points and closed down 1,100 points. It was the largest one-day point loss in the market’s history. CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger joins CBSN to explain what is affecting the markets.

Apple, Google, Nike And Other Big Stocks Just Hit All-Time Highs. Here’s Why

Topline: Wall Street cheered the release of November’s blockbuster jobs report on Friday, helping the market recover its trade-war-related losses from earlier in the week and putting a number of major stocks at new all-time highs.

Here are the major companies hitting new records:

  • Technology giant Apple hit a new record stock price on Friday, currently near $270 per share, after Citigroup boosted the company’s upside price target by 20% yesterday, predicting blockbuster holiday sales for products like Airpods and the Apple Watch.
  • Another of the big four tech companies, Google, also reached a new all-time high, trading near $1,342 per share. The company’s stock went higher after cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin stepped down from their leadership roles earlier this week, giving Google CEO Sundar Pichai the top job at parent company Alphabet.
  • Big financial services companies hit new record prices too, boosted by Wall Street’s big rally on Friday: JPMorgan Chase shares passed the $135 mark, just a few months after a third-quarter earnings report that saw record revenue, while U.S. Bancorp, one of Warren Buffett’s biggest holdings, traded above $60 per share.
  • Upscale furniture chain Restoration Hardware, which recently got a $206 million investment from Warren Buffett, achieved new highs of around $242 per share, following a successful third-quarter earnings beat that exceeded Wall Street expectations.
  • Shares of yoga pants maker Lululemon Athletica, which has led the popular athleisure apparel trend in recent years, hit a new record high of more than $232 per share on Friday. Lululemon’s stock continued a surging run this year (up more than 85% so far in 2019), as the retailer looks to expand into areas like menswear, e-commerce and international sales.
  • Nike, the world’s most dominant athletic footwear and apparel brand, also hit an all-time high price on Friday. The stock traded above $97 per share, thanks to a recent price target upgrade from Goldman Sachs analysts, who see a 20% upside as the retailer continues to be wildly popular with consumers and expands into growing markets like China.

Key background: Despite ongoing trade uncertainty, the stock market ended the first week of December back near record highs. Solid economic data, namely a blockbuster November jobs report that far exceeded analyst expectations, drove the big Wall Street rally on Friday. Recession fears have cooled recently, as economic indicators like consumer spending and holiday sales remain solid as well.

Crucial quote: “A killer jobs report put to rest concerns that the U.S. economy was starting to show signs of slowing down,” says Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda.

Today In: Money

What to watch for: Trade news—it’s anyone’s guess at this point, with the crucial December 15 deadline for additional U.S. tariffs on $156 billion worth of Chinese goods fast approaching. If Trump imposes tariffs, which China has asked to be canceled as part of a phase one trade deal, that could heat up tensions and threaten the stock market’s year-end run.

The Trump administration has spent months going back and forth with China on trade negotiations, with tensions constantly escalating and de-escalating. With both sides yet to sign a phase one trade deal, Trump’s recent approval of U.S. legislation on Hong Kong further “stalled” trade progress, according to Axios. That could make it more likely that Trump will hold off on planned December tariffs to keep the deal alive.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Send me a secure tip.

I am a New York—based reporter for Forbes, covering breaking news—with a focus on financial topics. Previously, I’ve reported at Money Magazine, The Villager NYC, and The East Hampton Star. I graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2018, majoring in International Relations and Modern History. Follow me on Twitter @skleb1234 or email me at sklebnikov@forbes.com

Source: Apple, Google, Nike And Other Big Stocks Just Hit All-Time Highs. Here’s Why.

312K subscribers
Apple is getting a vote of confidence from Raymond James as it raised its price target to $280 from $250 per share. In response, shares of the tech giant hit a new all-time high and could add more gains by the end of the year.

Stock Market Looking Up Amid Some Trade-Related Optimism

Key Takeaways:

  • Fed’s Bullard says U.S. manufacturing appears to be in recession
  • China lowers its benchmark lending rate
  • U.S., China set to conclude second day of lower-level talks today

Welcome to quadruple witching day. It happens every quarter on the day when futures and options on indices and stocks all expire on the same day.

Maybe it’s not as ominous as its name might suggest, but these remain days when investors might want to exercise special care as there could be some heightened volatility as people unwind baskets of stocks or futures.

On Wall Street, investors this morning seem to be a bit upbeat, heartened by developments on the trade front and by yet another major economy cutting interest rates.

Today In: Money

China cut its one-year lending rate, joining the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank in dovish steps designed to help stimulate economies by reducing borrowing costs. The moves come amid rising worries about global economic growth as the trade war between the United States and China drags on. (See more below.)

On the trade front, China and the United States are scheduled today to conclude two-day negotiations that began yesterday, seemingly with the aim of paving the way for higher level discussions next month.

The discussions come as there has been a bit of a thaw recently in the chilly trade relationship between the world’s two largest economies. Among recent developments, the Trump administration has excluded hundreds of Chinese items from a 25% tariff.

Resistance Near Record Highs

We’ve been talking for a while about how the U.S.-China trade war seems to be creating a cap that the stock market may not be able to meaningfully breach until the dispute between the world’s two largest economies comes to some sort of definitive conclusion.

That narrative seemed to be in play Thursday with stocks near all-time highs but losing momentum throughout the day. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) closed above 3000 after making it above 3,020. But without a catalyst to push stocks into record territory, this area between 3000 and the all-time high of 3027.98 looks to be an area of resistance.

True, the Fed didn’t give market participants much to get really excited about this week when the central bank delivered an as-expected rate cut. But it seems like the unresolved trade issue could be the bigger weight here.

While optimism around the two-day negotiations may have helped boost the market early Thursday, that sentiment may have been tempered by comments from a White House adviser in a media report that the United States could escalate the trade conflict if a deal isn’t reached soon. Meanwhile, a tweet from the editor of the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China said that “China is not as anxious to reach a deal as the U.S. side thought.”

Reading the Fed Tea Leaves

With mixed signals on the trade front, the market was left to scratch its head about what the Fed might do after its latest rate cut—not exactly a recipe for a rip-roaring day of gains in equities.

It’s arguable that the Fed has left the market in a holding pattern as investors seem unconvinced that the current central bank trajectory is as pro-growth as they want it to be.

But even though there seems to be wariness about the Fed’s language when it comes to interest rates, there could be some percolating excitement about a different type of stimulus that the central bank might have up its sleeve.

Still, without clear direction or conviction, investors seem to be holding off from making a big rotation into any one style of equities, leaving cyclicals still in play even as market participants may also be eyeing defensive sectors.

Today, investors and traders are likely looking to a slate of Fed speakers to try to gain some clarity on the central bank’s thinking. Additionally, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard posted a note explaining his dissent in the Fed’s recent decision to cut its key rate by 25 basis points. Bullard had wanted a 50-basis-point cut, citing expected slowing U.S. economic growth, trade policy uncertainty, rising recession probability estimates, and a U.S. manufacturing sector that “already appears in recession.”

Next week could offer the market further direction on the economy as investors and traders are scheduled to see data releases on consumer confidence and sentiment, new home sales, personal spending, and durable goods orders, as well as the government’s third estimate of gross domestic product.

A Firming Foundation: It’s been a pretty good week for housing market data. Yesterday, figures on existing home sales for August came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million. That was up from 5.42 million in July and beat a Briefing.com consensus of 5.36 million. That came after figures showing August housing starts and building permits came in above expectations. Briefing.com pointed out that lower mortgage rates were behind the strength in existing home sales. “The August sales strength cut the inventory of homes for sale,” Briefing.com said. “That will keep upward pressure on home prices, which in turn is likely going to necessitate the need for mortgage rates to stay down to drive ongoing sales growth.”

Will King Consumer’s Crown Stay Shiny? With the health of the U.S. consumer one of the top issues on the minds of investors and traders along with the trade war and Brexit, market participants are likely to be eyeing next week’s reports on consumer confidence and consumer sentiment with some interest. From the data we’ve been seeing, the U.S. consumer has been helping the economy continue to power along. GDP isn’t going gangbusters, but it’s still pretty solid, and the consumer has a lot to do with that. This could be a comforting sign to investors even as the trade war continues to drag on. If prices at the retail level move up due to tariffs and other cost pressures, consumer resilience could help cushion the U.S. economy.

Global Economic Outlook Darkens: While the U.S. consumer has been one of the backstops to the domestic economy, worries about the global economy in the face of the continued trade war are ratcheting up. The OECD is projecting that the global economy will expand by 2.9% this year and 3% next year, which would be the weakest annual growth rates since the financial crisis. And downside risks continue to mount, the group said Thursday. “Escalating trade conflicts are taking an increasing toll on confidence and investment, adding to policy uncertainty, aggravating risks in financial markets, and endangering already weak growth prospects worldwide,” the OECD said.

TD Ameritrade® commentary for educational purposes only. Member SIPC.

Follow me on Twitter.

I am Chief Market Strategist for TD Ameritrade and began my career as a Chicago Board Options Exchange market maker, trading primarily in the S&P 100 and S&P 500 pits. I’ve also worked for ING Bank, Blue Capital and was Managing Director of Option Trading for Van Der Moolen, USA. In 2006, I joined the thinkorswim Group, which was eventually acquired by TD Ameritrade. I am a 30-year trading veteran and a regular CNBC guest, as well as a member of the Board of Directors at NYSE ARCA and a member of the Arbitration Committee at the CBOE. My licenses include the 3, 4, 7, 24 and 66.

Source: Stock Market Looking Up Amid Some Trade-Related Optimism

265K subscribers
It was a big week for the bulls as optimism for a new trade deal gained steam. With CNBC’s Melissa Lee and the Fast Money traders, Tim Seymour, Brian Kelly, Dan Nathan and Guy Adami.
%d bloggers like this: