Thursday, March 12, 2020


Stock market news live: Dow pares losses after Fed announces $500 billion in short-term bank funding

Yahoo Finance LIVE - Mar 12
U.S. stocks tumbled by more than 7% Thursday before recovering some losses, with Wall Street poised to extend its historically ugly sell-off, after President Donald Trump announced new plans intended to contain the human toll and economic impact of the worsening coronavirus outbreak that has whipsawed global markets.
Amid heightened market turmoil, the New York Federal Reserve stepped in midday Thursday and announced a major asset purchase program, offering $500 billion in a three-month rep operation that will repeat tomorrow. The New York Fed also said its securities purchases would be along a range of maturities, to match the composition of the Treasury market.
The major infusion of liquidity comes as The World Health Organization officially designated the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic on Wednesday, as the virus spread across more than 100 countries and infected well over 100,000 individuals.
Growing alarm about the severity of the pathogen — and the economic toll — has sent markets into a tailspin. Weeks of panic-driven selling has dragged blue-chip stocks into bear market territory at a breathtaking pace, of less than a month from peak to trough.
In a televised address, Trump said he was planning to suspend travel from certain areas of Europe to the U.S. for the next 30 days. He also announced plans for $50 billion of low interest loans to affected businesses and suggested a delay in the April 15 tax filing deadline.
However, the speech sparked widespread confusion — and failed to mollify panic-stricken investors. Major benchmarks sank deeper into correction territory at the open, triggering a circuit-breaker during the regular session shortly after 9:30 a.m. ET.
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The COVID-19 pandemic is growing, with over 1,000 infected domestically and more than 120,000 worldwide.
“President Trump’s address to the nation was symptomatic of the lack of policy coordination in the face of a global coronavirus pandemic,” Oxford Economics’ Gregory Daco said.
“Markets reacted negatively to what was perceived as a solemn but confused speech that placed blame on other nations, omitted to focus on immediate actions to relieve the most affected individuals, and lacked in concrete fiscal and health measures to address the economic and financial impact of the virus,” the analyst added.
The selloff suggests investors were hoping for much more — such as what Academy Securities’ Peter Tchir suggested should have been a worldwide fiscal stimulus plan coordinated among large economies.
“I'm disappointed with what we got,” Tchir added. And other market professionals were even more alarmed.
“The U.S. limiting entry to foreign nationals from Europe has the potential to cause another world depression again even if it is for reasons that seek to stop the spread of the coronavirus,” MUFG economist Chris Rupkey said.
“Business activity is going to hit the brakes around the world and stock markets around the world are in freefall as the spread of this deadly pandemic virus has the potential to slow the global economy to a crawl,” he added.
Other proposals under consideration by the Trump administration included a payroll tax cut and expanded worker protections, to help counteract any economic fall-out from the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
While some of these ideas have been met with resistance in the House, Eurasia Group’s Todd Marino wrote late Wednesday that “the snowballing impact of the coronavirus in coming weeks, combined with a White House push, will likely result in bipartisan alignment—rare in an election year—on [a] big-bang stimulus.”

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