Stocks plunge into bear market territory: March 12, 2020

By CNN Business

Updated 6:55 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020
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11:46 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

This is the burst of the 'everything bubble'

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

The coronavirus selloff is asset class-agnostic: everything is getting hammered.

Stocks are in the red, so are commodities, led by plummeting oil prices.

The ‘Everything Bubble’ is bursting," said Neil MacKinnon, Global Macro Strategist at VTB Capital. "The historically extreme valuations in US equity markets which investors have ignored for so long are coming home to roost."

Risk aversion has manifested itself in Treasury yields, that are lower than ever before. A "Japanification" of the US government bond market is under way, MacKinnon said.

Japan has had ultra-low interest rates and bond yields for years, but the desired growth bump never came. Market participants refer to this set of circumstances as "japanification". It has also been observed in Europe.

Central banks around the world have loosened monetary policy in the face of the coronavirus crisis, but "the risk is that these policies fail to work in generating sustainable economic growth, as has been the case in Japan," MacKinnon said.

11:28 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

So much for bitcoin being a place to hide

From CNN Business' Paul R. La Monica

Bitcoin is supposed to be a safe haven -- a digital version of gold if you will. It's not backed by a government and shouldn't be hurt like the dollar, euro and other paper currencies are when central banks cut rates. 

So much for that argument. Bitcoin plunged more than 20% Thursday and has now fallen more than 30% in the past week. It's trading barely above $6,000 after soaring to more than $10,000 just a few weeks ago.

The cryptocurrency has been shellacked along with just about every other major financial asset as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Except for actual gold, that is. The price of the yellow metal did fall along with the rest of the market Thursday but it is still up about 4% in 2020 and is not far from a seven-year high.

So when it comes to safe havens, it looks like investors want something they can actually touch and feel instead of an asset they have to mine in a server farm.

11:31 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

As the Dow plunges 2,000 points, Trump promises markets will be 'just fine'

From CNN Business' Matt Egan and Nikki Carvajal

It's no secret President Donald Trump tracks the stock market almost constantly. In many ways, he views the Dow as a real-time report card on his presidency.

Yet Trump is expressing confidence, at least outwardly, about the market despite staggering losses suffered in recent weeks.

"The markets are going to be just fine," Trump told reporters Thursday at the White House.

His comments came after Wall Street experienced such severe selling that the New York Stock Exchange halted trading for 15 minutes Thursday, the second market timeout in four days.

The S&P 500 plummeted into bear market territory after Trump announced a travel ban with Europe. If the index closes there, it would mark the end of the 11-year bull market.

The market plunge has been driven by fears that the coronavirus pandemic will set off a recession. Trump is urging lawmakers to quickly enact a stimulus package of tax cuts and other assistance aimed at limiting the economic damage.

11:38 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

The Dow hasn't been this low in years

From CNN Business' David Goldman

The Dow is floating around 21,800 points today. That's about 1,700 points lower than where it closed yesterday. It's also lower than at any point in 2019 ... or 2018.

Yup, the last time the Dow was this low was September 2017. The Equifax data breach had just exposed just about every American's personal information. And Hurricane Maria had just slammed into Puerto Rico.

The Dow is down about 7.3%. If it falls another few percentage points, it'll be on pace for its worst day since October 26, 1987.

11:56 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Good news: Two stocks are up right now!

From CNN Business' David Goldman

There's not much good news happening today, but if you're an investor, two stocks could have made you some money.

Cabot Oil & Gas (COG), which mostly produces natural gas, is the market leader: up 2.5%. Plummeting oil prices are good news for Cabot, because less American oil production means less natural gas production, which could boost prices.

Akamai (AKAM) is also up -- 1.3%. An analyst from Baird upgraded the stock today, because the cloud services provider is going to get some heavy use from folks around the world working from home.

10:48 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

European stocks are getting clobbered

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe and Julia Horowitz

Stocks are selling off around the world, but European exchanges are looking particularly bad.

Investors hoping for further interest rate cuts from the European Central Bank today were disappointed. The bank announced bond buying and relief for retail banks.

Germany's DAX is down more than 9.6%, on track for its worst day since 1987.

In France, the CAC 40 dropped 9.8%, while the UK's FTSE 100 is down nearly 9%.

10:13 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Europe travel ban rocks fragile oil market

From CNN Business' Matt Egan

The oil market's horrific week keeps getting worse.

US oil prices plunged another 7% to $30.60 a barrel Thursday after President Donald Trump imposed a passenger travel ban with Europe. Crude touched a low of $30.02 a barrel. At that level, prices were down a stunning 27% this week alone.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, suffered even more severe losses Thursday, plummeting 9% to $32.70 a barrel.

The travel ban with Europe will only amplify the sharp declines in demand caused by the coronavirus. Hit by shuttered factories, canceled flights and empty highways, oil demand was already expected to decline this year for the first time in more than a decade.

That was before the announcement of the unprecedented travel ban, a move that will shut down countless flights for the foreseeable future.

The supply picture is just as gloomy for the oil market. Russia, seeking to deal a blow to the US shale industry, refused last week to go along with OPEC's desire to cut production. Saudi Arabia retaliated by promising to flood the market with cheap barrels.

2:38 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

TheRealReal says coronavirus could hurt its business

From CNN Business' Daniela Sirtori-Cortina

Luxury goods consignment company TheRealReal (REAL) fell more than 12% as it warned that the coronavirus could hurt its operations.

As a result of the outbreak, the luxury goods owners that TheRealReal buys from might change their minds about letting the company’s staff into their homes to review items, according to a Wednesday securities filing.

The company said it could also decide to scale back or temporarily halt the service, called a White Glove consultation, to protect its employees.

Most consignors preferred this approach, TheRealReal said, so any disruptions could affect its business. TheRealReal also noted that luxury goods purchases tend to decline in periods of economic uncertainty and that the virus could affect the operations of its retail stores.

The company said March 4 that it had opened a new location in San Francisco. TheRealReal had previously announced a $96.7 million net loss for 2019.

Correction: An earlier version of this post's headline incorrectly stated how coronavirus could hurt TheRealReal's business

11:57 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

US stock trading resumes

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

ocs resumed trading at 9:50 am ET, after the New York Stock Exchange halted activity following a 7% drop in the S&P 500.

  • The S&P was down 7.4% at the reopen.
  • The Dow was 7.6%, or 1,780 points, lower.
  • The Nasdaq Composite fell 7.6%.