Dow and US stocks plunge again: March 16, 2020

By CNN Business

Updated 9:54 a.m. ET, March 17, 2020
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4:51 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Dow tumbles nearly 3,000 points -- worst point drop in history

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

It was another ugly day for US stocks. The Dow recorded its worst one-day point drop in history and its worst performance on a percentage basis since October 19, 1987, also known as “Black Monday.”

Stocks fell to session lows in the final hour of trading, as President Donald Trump said the outbreak could last until July or August. The Dow dropped more than 3,000 points at its worst.

3:52 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Dow tumbles 2,700 points as Trump says this new normal could last until August

From CNN Business' David Goldman

The Dow was down 2,700 points after President Donald Trump said American life might not return to normal until August. It had fallen as many as 2,800 points Monday.

Trump also said the virus "is not under control" and acknowledged the economy may be falling into a recession.

Investors were displeased. The S&P 500 was down 10.8%.

3:43 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Stocks are on track for their worst day since ... Thursday

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

US stocks are set to close in the red yet again, with all major stock indexes firmly negative.

The market's broadest measure, the S&P 500, is down 8.4%. And while that might sound terrible, it's only its worst day since Thursday. That's the kind of new normal -- outsized market swings -- investors have had to get used to.

The Dow is 2,115 points, or 9.1%, lower in the final hour of trading. And the Nasdaq Composite is down 8.7%.

3:43 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Closing the stock exchanges won't help confidence, economist says

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

Market turmoil has been persistent, and this week looks no better. Now the voices calling for a temporary shut-down of the US stock market are getting louder.

But closing shop is no way to restore confidence, said John Higgins, chief market economist at Capital Economics.

Exchanges stayed open during the 2008 financial crisis, the bursting of the dot-com bubble in 2000 and the Great Depression, Higgins said. The market has been closed for a prolonged period only for practical reasons, such as the four days after 9/11. It has never shut down because of volatility.

In addition, "stock markets have now fallen a long way and so seem to be discounting a very bad economic outcome already," Higgins said. That is why markets might start stabilizing soon, he added.

New York Stock Exchange President Stacey Cunningham tweeted earlier that it was important for markets to remain open and function in an orderly manner.

3:51 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Struggling US airlines want up to $58 billion in aid 

From CNN's Greg Wallace and Jordan Valinsky

Airlines slammed by the coronavirus are requesting an aid package from the US government that could amount to up to $58 billion, according to industry group Airlines for America. 

The aid is requested in the form of loans, grants and tax relief. The ask includes up to $25 billion in grants for passenger air carriers and $4 billion in grants to cargo carriers, and the same amounts in loans or loan guarantees. Airlines for America said in a release:

"US carriers are in need of immediate assistance as the current economic environment is simply not sustainable. This is compounded by the fact that the crisis does not appear to have an end in sight."

Two sources told CNN the aid package has been discussed with key lawmakers and staff, on Capitol Hill and in the Trump administration.

The discussions were described as being at an early stage. But one of the sources noted there is a growing recognition from the federal government that conditions "are getting very bad, very fast."

Airlines for America predicted the seven US airlines it represents could "run out of money completely sometime between June 30 and the end of the year" with losses that could be as high as $53 billion this year.

Most airline stocks are getting clobbered, again: Delta Air Lines (DAL) is down 6%, United Airlines (UAL) sank 10% and Southwest (LUV) shares are 8% lower.

However, American Airlines (AAL) is up 6%.

2:55 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Planet Fitness tanks and Peloton soars as some states shut gyms

From CNN Business' Paul R. La Monica

Going to the gym might be the last thing on many people's minds these days, given worries about the coronavirus. But if you live in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or Michigan, you don't even have the option.

These four states have issued executive orders to temporarily close gyms, as well as other crowded public places, to try to slow the outbreak. The CDC has also recommended avoiding places where there are groups of 50 or more people.

That's bad new for gym owner Planet Fitness (PLNT). Shares plunged almost 30% due to concerns about how the pandemic will impact membership growth. The stock has now lost half its value this year.

But investors seem to think this could be a boon for interactive bike maker Peloton (PTON). Its shares surged nearly 15% Monday. Still, the stock hit a new all-time low earlier in the day and remains about 25% below its IPO price.

Nervous consumers (maybe even including the woman from last year's oft-maligned holiday ad) may not be looking to spend on pricey exercise equipment anytime soon in this environment.

1:59 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Stocks are on track for their worst month since 1987

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

There's no way to sugarcoat this: The markets look terrible right now.

We're halfway through March and Wall Street is on track for its worst month in more than three decades.

The S&P 500, the broadest measure of American stocks, is down 16.9% so far this month -- putting it on track for its worst month since October 1987, when the infamous "Black Monday" market crash happened.


1:43 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

US Chamber of Commerce calls for support so businesses can keep going

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

America's Chamber of Commerce today called for measures to support US businesses of all sizes to ensure they can weather the storm of the coronavirus fallout.

Though pleased with what Congress has done so far, more action is needed, said Tom Donohue, CEO of the chamber, in a statement.

"No business or family should go bankrupt from the temporary but significant disruption caused by the Coronavirus,” Donohue added.

The chamber is calling for three measures:

  1. A cancellation of all payroll taxes paid by employers for the months of March, April and May, which would be a monthly relief of some $100 billion for companies and could give them breathing room to fund paychecks.
  2. Expanding and streamlining of loan programs for small businesses experiencing revenue loss as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
  3. The creation of credit facilities to provide loans and loan guarantees to employers with more than 500 employees that have witnessed revenue losses.
2:29 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Proposal to give every American a check for $1,000 gains steam

From CNN's John Harwood and Betsy Klein

There are signs that a direct cash-to-citizens proposal is gaining traction.

Greg Mankiw, a former top economic adviser to President George W. Bush, has embraced the idea.

"I would start with a $1000 check for every American, sent out as quickly as possible," Mankiw told CNN's John Harwood. "That would work out to be about 1.7% of GDP. But if this pandemic continues, we might have to do it again in a month."

The proposal, which has been advocated by Obama adviser Jason Furman, would send $1,000 to every American immediately. Furman has estimated the proposal would cost $350 billion.

Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, who was advised by Mankiw in both of his presidential campaigns, has also voiced support for such a measure.

Although its chances of passing Congress and President Donald Trump's desk are unclear, Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow would not rule the proposal out when asked by CNN.