Wall Street's roller coaster week continues: March 11, 2020

By CNN Business

Updated 7:45 p.m. ET, March 11, 2020
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4:22 p.m. ET, March 11, 2020

'This is not a financial crisis,' Citi CEO says

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

As stocks are dropping, the comparisons to the 2007-2009 financial crisis are natural. But they're also not entirely accurate.

"This is not a financial crisis," said Citi (C) CEO Michael Corbat. "Banks are in solid shape."

The CEOs of America's big banks and financial institutions met with President Donald Trump in Washington this afternoon.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC) CEO Brian Moynihan added "we're very strongly capitalized."

At the same time, the virus poses a unique challenge for policy makers as well as businesses, said Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO David Solomon.

4:36 p.m. ET, March 11, 2020

The cruise industry is getting crushed by coronavirus. These stocks are down by more than 50%

From CNN Business' Matt Egan

Leading cruise ship operators are worth a fraction of what they were valued at before the coronavirus outbreak.

Following another wave of selling Wednesday, Carnival (CCL) has now lost nearly 60% of its value so far this year. Royal Caribbean (RCL) has plunged 67% in 2020. And three-quarters of Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) market value has disappeared.

The cruise industry is ground zero for the carnage in the tourism sector. Travelers are shying away from booking cruises out of fear they'll contract coronavirus or get stuck on a ship at sea.

The staggering losses reflect rising fears about the financial health of cruise companies.

S&P Global Ratings said Tuesday it could downgrade Carnival and Royal Caribbean because of diminished cruise demand and rising leverage.

"We believe it is increasingly likely that the demand for cruises will remain weak even after the virus is contained," S&P warned.

4:27 p.m. ET, March 11, 2020

Dow closes in a bear market

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

US stocks sold off sharply on Wednesday, with the Dow falling into a bear market.

That means the Dow fell 20% below its most recent high.

The Dow finished 1,465 points, or 5.9%, lower. At its low-point of the day, the index was down 1,690 points.

Stocks erased all of Tuesday’s gains. Coronavirus fears again weighed on markets, as the World Health Organization designated the global outbreak a pandemic.

The S&P 500 fell 4.9%. The index briefly fell into bear market territory in afternoon trading.

The Nasdaq Composite closed down 4.7%.

3:26 p.m. ET, March 11, 2020

S&P 500 also slips into bear market territory

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

The S&P 500 followed the Dow into bear market territory on Wednesday afternoon, defined as a drop of 20% or more from its most recent peak. The S&P hit an all-time high on February 19.

The index was down nearly 6% Wednesday afternoon when it briefly dipped into bear market territory.

3:16 p.m. ET, March 11, 2020

Minutes after Dow hits bear territory, NY Fed vows to pump in billions more

From CNN Business' Matt Egan

The New York Federal Reserve promised Wednesday to inject tens of billions of additional dollars into the financial system in hopes of easing coronavirus pressures rocking Wall Street.

The announcement, made minutes after the Dow plunged into bear market territory, signals the Fed's willingness to support teetering financial markets.

It marks the second ramp-up by the NY Fed in the past three days.

The NY Fed said it will now offer at least $175 billion in its daily overnight repo operations. That's up from at least $150 billion that was announced Monday and at least $100 billion before that.

And the NY Fed will now offer one-month repo operations of at least $50 billion.

Officials cited the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit Wall Street firms and forced some employees to work remotely.

The moves should "help smooth functioning of funding markets as market participants implement business resiliency plans in response to the coronavirus," the NY Fed said in a statement.

Translation: the Fed doesn't want borrowing costs to spike during the ongoing market mayhem. That's what happened last fall, setting off alarm bells on Wall Street.

3:00 p.m. ET, March 11, 2020

Gilead Sciences is one of only six S&P 500 stocks up today

From CNN Business' Paul R. La Monica

Investors are running for the hills because of the coronavirus -- but one of just a handful of S&P 500 stocks that was trading higher Wednesday is up because of hopes that it can treat the virus.

Biotech Gilead Sciences (GILD), which is testing its remdesivir drug in human patients, was up more than 1%. The World Health Organization has previously said that the antiviral vaccine might be the best hope to contain COVID-19.

Insurance brokers Wills Towers Watson (WLTW) and Aon (AON), cloud software firm Citrix (CTXS), web content management firm Akamai (AKAM) and wireless giant T-Mobile (TMUS) were the only other S&P 500 stocks higher in late afternoon trading.

2:38 p.m. ET, March 11, 2020

Dow slips into bear market territory

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

The Dow fell into bear-market territory, dropping more than 20% from its most recent peak, which it reached on February 12.

The index was last down 1,390 points, or 5.6%, Wednesday.

The S&P 500, which is the broadest measure of the US stock market, as well as the Nasdaq Composite are not in bear-market territory, although they are also edging closer.

The S&P 500 fell 5.1%, and the Nasdaq was down 5%.


2:40 p.m. ET, March 11, 2020

Starbucks expands catastrophe pay policy due to coronavirus

From CNN's Kate Trafecante and Danielle Wiener-Bronner

Starbucks (SBUX) employees who have been diagnosed with, exposed to or had close prolonged contact with someone who has coronavirus can now claim up to 14 days of catastrophe pay, the chain said in note to employees Wednesday.

"I want you to know that here at Starbucks, you should never have to choose between work and taking care of yourself," wrote Rossann Williams, who leads company-operated business in the United States.

Employees don't need to show symptoms to take advantage of the expanded policy, she added. If they can't come back to work after 14 days, employees may qualify for more paid leave.

Starbucks previously announced that it will make its March 18 annual shareholder meeting a virtual gathering in light of the outbreak. Starbucks is based in Washington state, where at least 273 cases of coronavirus have been reported.

2:18 p.m. ET, March 11, 2020

The Dow is extremely close to bear market territory

From CNN Business' Paul R, La Monica

Stocks continue to plunge due to fears about the coronavirus outbreak and there seems to be no end in sight to the market panic. If this keeps up, the Dow could soon find itself in bear market territory -- 20% off a recent high. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq aren't far behind.

Here's where the three most widely watched market indexes stand as of mid-afternoon Wednesday -- and what they need to close at in order to be considered in a bear market.

  • Dow: Down 19.7%. Needs to close at 23,641.12
  • S&P 500: Down 18.7%. Needs to close at 2,708.92
  • Nasdaq: Down 18.7% Needs to close at 7,853.74

Two other market barometers -- the Dow Jones Transportation Average and the small cap focused Russell 2000 -- are already in bear status.