Sell-off deepens, trading halted, S&P 500 heads for bear market


Sell-off deepens, trading halted, S&P 500 heads for bear market

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 09, 2020 in New York City.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

This is a live blog. Check back for updates.

8:26 am: Carnival Corp. halted due to news pending

Shares of cruise operator Carnival Corp. were halted for trading due to news pending. Earlier in premarket trading the stock dropped more than 15% as the coronavirus outbreak continues to hit the travel industry. The CDC has warned that those at higher risk, including older adults, should avoid cruise travel. Shares of carnival have lost more than half their value in the last month, falling just over 50%. – Stevens

8:21 am: El-Erian says stock market decline will reach 30% from highs, sees a recession on the horizon

The U.S. stock market will drop as much as 30% from last month’s highs as global economies go into coronavirus-driven recessions, said Mohamed El-Erian, the chief economic advisor at Allianz, who correctly predicted earlier in the week the selling would continue until a bear market was reached. The former CEO of investment powerhouse Pimco said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday that investors should not expect a quick recovery in stocks when a bottom is finally reached. “We are going into a global recession. We are going to see a spread of economic sudden stops,” El-Erian said. “The trouble with economic sudden stops is it’s not easy to restart an economy. You’ve got to get people to re-engage. You’ve got to coordinate the restart. The economic damage is going to last.” – Stankiewicz

8:16 am: ETF that tracks the S&P 500 sheds 5.2% in premarket trading

The SPDR S&P 500 Trust ETF (SPY), which tracks the S&P 500, is down 5.2% during Thursday’s premarket trading as the sell-off intensifies. The S&P 500 is on track to enter a bear market when trading begins. – Stevens

8:09 am: Boeing beating continues as futures point to 14.5% drop after Wednesday’s 18% plummet

Industrials crown jewel Boeing was on track Thursday morning to open more than 14% below where it closed on Wednesday, adding to its whopping 49% decline over the last six months. Boeing equity on Wednesday suffered its worst day on Wall Street since 1974 — an 18% plunge — after the planemaker said it was immediately suspending hiring and imposing measures to conserve cash.The company, already grappling with the fallout of two fatal crashes of its 737 Max craft, came under additional pressure over night after President Donald Trump said the U.S. will ban travelers from Europe for 30 days starting on Friday in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. — Franck

8:07 am: The market may trigger a ‘circuit breaker’ for a second time this week

The brutal sell-off in the futures market Thursday signaled a so-called circuit breaker could be triggered when the markets open. A market trading halt may occur at “three circuit breaker thresholds” on the S&P 500 due to large declines and volatility, which helps keep stocks from a free fall. If the S&P 500 drops 7%, trading will pause for 15 minutes. Just on Monday, trading was halted temporarily minutes into the opening bell. The S&P 500 ended up suffering its worst day since the financial crisis at the beginning of the week. – Li

7:55 am: Airline stocks sink as Trump institutes travel ban

Airline stocks were under pressure in Thursday’s premarket trading after President Trump imposed a 30-day ban on foreigners arriving from most of Europe. American Airlines and United Airlines were both down more than 15%, while Delta Air Lines slid 13%. Travel stocks have gotten slammed as the coronavirus outbreak has hit demand. – Stevens

7:45 am: CME Group to close Chicago trading floor as a precaution due to coronavirus

CME Group announced Wednesday night it will close its Chicago trading floor in a precautionary move due to the coronavirus pandemic. The closing will take effect Friday “at the close of business,” CME said in a statement, noting that no coronavirus cases have been reported at the Chicago Board of Trade trading floor. This would make CME the first major U.S. exchange to close a trading floor due to concerns over the coronavirus. – Fitzgerald

7:43 am: S&P 500 poised to join Dow in bear market territory as futures hint at 4.7% slide

Futures contracts tied to the S&P 500 showed that the major market index is on track to join the Dow in bear market territory at the opening of trade on Thursday. Though an official bear market is determined on a closing basis, the S&P 500 is on track to slide 4.7% based on premarket futures trading. That would put the index 22.88% below its record close of 3,386.15 hit on Feb. 19.

The Dow, meanwhile, is poised to fall further into a bear market one day after its historic, 11-year bull market run came to an end on Wednesday. Futures showed the blue-chip index on track to dive 1,200 points, or 5%, at the opening bell. — Franck

7:40 am: Trump addresses the nation on Wednesday night

President Donald Trump gave a speech on Wednesday evening, announcing a ban on travelers to the United States from Europe, in an attempt to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The ban is in place for the next 30 days. Trump also announced that he would ask Congress for legislative action to provide payroll tax relief, as well as other measures for several groups impacted by the virus. In addition to legislation, Trump said he would instruct the Small Business Administration to “provide capital and liquidity” to small businesses. – Fitzgerald

7:36 am: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson test positive for coronavirus

Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson have tested positive for the coronavirus, Hanks said Wednesday. “Hello, folks. Rita and I are down here in Australia,” he wrote. “We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches. Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too. To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the Coronavirus, and were found to be positive.” Hanks and Wilson are in Australia for the pre-production of a Warner Bros. film. – Fitzgerald

7:35 am: Trump speech disappoints markets

Investors were left wanting more robust fiscal stimulus measures after President Donald Trump’s speech Wednesday night. Trump said the administration would provide financial relief for workers who are ill, caring for others due to the virus or are quarantined. But Tom Essaye, founder of The Sevens Report, said none of the measures announced “are a silver bullet for coronavirus, and as such the market is reacting with short term disappointment.” Ernie Tedeschi of Evercore ISI said Trump didn’t “offer up major new ideas on stimulus and only said he’d propose a vague payroll tax holiday to Congress without strongly standing up for any firm size/magnitude.” —Imbert

7:32 am: NBA suspends season due to coronavirus

The National Basketball Association on Wednesday night suspended its season indefinitely after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the new coronavirus. “The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of [Wednesday night’s] schedule of games until further notice,” the league said in a statement. “The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.” The National Hockey League said that it is “continuing to consult with medical experts and is evaluating the options” for its ongoing season. – Fitzgerald

7:05 am: Stock futures tank, Dow set to fall 1,100 points

U.S. stock futures are pointing to steep losses at the open, one day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell into a bear market. The 30-stock index is set to drop 1,080 points when stocks open on Wall Street for a loss of 4.6%. The S&P 500 is set to open down 4.3%, while the Nasdaq is on track to drop 4.5%. 

Based on that decline, the S&P 500 will join the Dow in bear market territory.

The leg lower comes after President Donald Trump failed to assuage fears of a potential economic slowdown during a speech on Wednesday night. As futures sold off, the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 all hit the so-called limit down threshold at one point, off by more than 5%, before paring those losses slightly.

On Wednesday, the Dow ended its historic 11-year bull market run by closing in bear-market territory. A bear market marks a 20% decline from all-time highs. – Stevens


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