Dow falls 8.7 percent as U.S. stocks face another rout

Saturday, 14 Mar, 2020

Disney's recent slide continued on Thursday, with its stock dropping 9.5% to $95.58; less than a month ago, Disney was trading near $140 per share, but the combination of coronavirus and the exit of CEO Bob Iger in recent weeks has contributed to the severe drop.

Dow Jones futures are down more than 1,000 points as USA stock markets brace for more losses Thursday after President Donald Trump's speech on the coronavirus outbreak seemingly failed to ease investors' concerns. Only the containment of the virus can do that.

European exchanges fell further into the red following the ECB's actions. Italy's benchmark stock index, which has dropped 18% this week, fell another 6%.

As markets opened on Thursday morning in the United Kingdom, the FTSE100 plummeted by as much as 9.7 percent.

In both the USA and Canada, a Level 1 trading halt shuts down trading for 15 minutes after a drop of seven per cent; Level 2 pauses trading for 15 minutes after a 13-per cent plunge; and Level 3 shuts down the entire trading day if the index falls by 20 per cent.

Today, the Dow closed at 21,200.

After the 2008 financial crisis, monetary easing and Chinese fiscal stimulus buoyed equity markets following the initial crash.

Reflecting that uncertainty, the Cboe Volatility Index, known as Wall Street's "fear gauge", jumped on Thursday in its biggest-ever one-day surge.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell five per cent at one stage, but ended only one per cent down.

Shares of cruise operators like Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Lines dropped about 10% to 12% before the US market opens, while stocks for hotel companies declined about 5% to 10%. Down 4.4%, Crude Oil finished the day at $31.52 a barrel.

The sell-off slamming global markets came after President Trump imposed a travel ban on most of Europe and offered few new measures to contain the impact. S&P 500 futures tumbled late on Wednesday, seconds after he announced the travel ban in a televised address. He described the suspension as affecting "Europe", rather than the specific collection of countries that U.S. authorities later clarified. Traders that bought "thinking" we made lows last week are getting crushed.

"The news just continues to get worse, and the travel ban puts an exclamation point on the weakness we're going to see in global GDP and, in turn, the USA", said Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab. The death toll in the USA climbed to 39, with over 1,300 infections.

Even so, it remains unclear whether airlines will still fly the routes if passenger demand from European nationals dries up because of the ban.

The S&P 500's rout has left it trading at under 16 times expected earnings, its lowest level since early 2019, according to Refinitiv Datastream.

Airline stocks tanked 11%, while cruise liner Carnival Corp plummeted after its Princess Cruises said it would suspend global operations for two months.

And he called on Congress to provide payroll tax relief to Americans, though that idea has been met with some resistance on Capitol Hill.

"That has probably disappointed markets more than anything", Halley added.

Markets worldwide have retreated as fears of economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis deepen and the meltdown in the USA, the world's biggest economy, batters confidence around the globe. All told, over 118,000 people have been infected worldwide, and around 4,300 have died - including at least 1,267 infections and 38 deaths here in America.