Stocks continued their precipitous decline — with the Dow finally surrendering its “Trump bump” — as the federal government wrestles with how best to combat the economic fallout surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, plus more in today’s Closing Bell on Money & Markets.
The Top Story
The “Trump bump” is in reference to all of the Dow Jones Industrial Average gains since the election of U.S. President Donald Trump in January 2016 — and it’s all been wiped out in just a month’s time. The White House is requesting $500 billion from Congress to make cash payments to U.S. citizens impacted by the spread of coronavirus, or COVID-19, which has all but shut down the country.
The Trump administration also requested another $50 billion in loans for airlines, but that did little to stem the rout on Wall Street.
The S&P 500 circuit breaker was once again tripped shortly before 1 p.m. EDT today after a 7% drop, triggering a 15-minute halt to trading.
Since the S&P 500’s record-high close Feb. 19, the index has shed more than a third of its value, about $7 trillion, the fastest fall in history in less than a month.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggested shortening the trading hours at one point, drawing opposition from top investors and exchange managers who say it could hurt the market’s credibility.
Stock Market Update: Closing Bell*
S&P 500: 2,398 (-5.1%)
DOW: 19,898 (-6.3%)
NASDAQ: 6,989 (-4.7%)
GOLD: $1,491 (-2.2%)
BITCOIN: $5,388 (-0.5%)
U.S. 10-YEAR YIELD: 1.20%
*- as of 4:12 p.m.
A Big Win
This morning, we told you to be on the lookout for Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) as the retailer announced it was reducing its hours to give crews time to restock and clean stores. Shares fell 0.7%.
We also told you about Cinemark Holdings Inc. (NYSE: CNK) deciding to close all 345 of its U.S. locations to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Cinemark shares fell 5.4%.
It was another down day for even safe havens like precious metals.
Gold futures were trading down 2.2% to $1,491.40 an ounce while silver futures dropped another 3.6% to $12.03 per ounce.
Other precious metals faced strong headwinds today as platinum fell 5.8% to $626.80 an ounce, and palladium futures were down 2.7% to $1,469 an ounce.
As cannabis sales surge in the U.S. amid the coronavirus outbreak, marijuana retailers are taking stock — and some are even closing temporarily as supply dwindles.
According to Marijuana Business Daily, cannabis sales in California jumped 159% over the weekend while sales in Washington state jumped 100%. Colorado cannabis sales ticked up 46% at the same time.
The average year-over-year increase for adult-use sales on Mondays between Jan. 6 and March 9 was 71% in California, 10% in Colorado and 15% in Washington state — meaning the percent increases seen in each market on March 16 were several standard deviations beyond the norm.
“We are thinking about stocking up on inventory, but we are taking it day by day,” A Therapeutic Alternative CEO Kimberly Cargile said.
Hotel Occupancy Rate Drops Amid Coronavirus Fears
To illustrate just how bad the coronavirus spread is for business, hotel occupancy dropped 24.4% last week, according to hospitality research company STR.
That dip brought year-to-date occupancy down by 53% year over year.
“With more regulatory measures put in place by the government and certain companies, coupled with the closure of schools, malls, theaters, pubs and other places of social interest in some states, the readings are likely to drop further in the coming weeks,” Karan Mahesh, account manager for STR said in a LinkedIn post.
Today’s Big Winners:
Akamai Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: AKAM) +9.8%
Gilead Sciences Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD) +6.5%
FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) +4.9%
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (NYSE: WBA) +6.4%
Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) +2.7%
Today’s Big Losers:
Coty Inc. (NYSE: COTY) -31.1%
Marriott International Inc. (Nasdaq: MAR) -15.2%
United Airlines Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: UAL) -30.3%
American Airlines Group Inc. (Nasdaq: AAL) -25.2%
Boeing Inc. (NYSE: BA) -18%
Check back for the most important news and numbers each day after the Closing Bell, only on Money & Markets.