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A monitor displays stock market information on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Thursday, March 12, 2020. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

Markets tank: The bear is here

A monitor displays stock market information on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Thursday, March 12, 2020. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

News analysts around the world scrambled on Thursday afternoon to deliver the bad news.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, US, on Wednesday, February 26, 2020.


Global equity markets experienced the worst losses on March 12, exceeding losses since the Black Monday crash of 1987.

The S&P 500 fell 9.5 per cent , for a total drop of 26.7 per cent from the historic high set in February.

The slide past the 20 per cent mark in less than two months puts the market into bear territory, bringing to an end eleven years of a bull run.

The Dow Jones sank 10 per cent yesterday while European markets lost 12 per cent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 10 per cent while the Nasdaq dropped 750 points, or 9.4 per cent. European markets lost 12 per cent.

Analysts at the New York Times said the slide was triggered by investors response to the announcement by President Trump that travel from over 20 European nations would be blocked for 30 days starting March 13.

They had, instead, been expecting news which would temper the effects of the coronavirus on global economies, but instead they received an unhappy surprise.

Donald Trump addresses the nation from the Oval Office about the widening coronavirus crisis on March 11.

Trump’s move was not expected, as previously he downplayed the effects of the spreading corona virus on the American economy.

His decision came as the number of Americans infected increased tenfold in less than ten days and many several residents of nursing homes were added to the growing list of mortalities.

Over 1000 residents are now infected, with reports that several school authorities country wide will be meeting tomorrow to decide which schools will be closed in a bid to slow down the rapid spread.

Analysts at the Sun Sentinel noted that investor panic was accompanied by numerous cancellations of bookings and flights.

To counter the move by Trump, airlines are trying to drum up business in other areas, including the Caribbean where Spirit Airlines is offering return fares to and from the United States near the US$100 mark.

Airlines are trying to drum up business with discounted flights to passengers.

Other news analysts state that the panic has not been helped by the announcement by the World Health Organization that the spread of Covid-19, as the strain of virus is called, is now a pandemic.

Pandemic refers to the fact that most countries are now experiencing community spread, as opposed to imported cases of the virus.

The United States has left the door open for the United Kingdom and Ireland, where cases are not as numerous as in Italy.

South Korean soldiers wearing protective suits spray a street in the Gangnam district of Seoul, South Korea, on Thursday, March 5, 2020.

In Italy cases have tracked past the 7000 mark, with well over 600 deaths. Cases are also exploding in Germany.

Analysts say that the problems caused by the virus have now hit Main Street as well as Wall Street, starting a strangulation process for the real economy.

The Sentinel in its global summary says travel stocks again were among the hardest hit. Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruises both lost roughly a quarter of their value. Another drop for United Airlines put its loss for the year at more than 50 per cent.

Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruises both lost roughly a quarter of their value. (Photo: cruisemapper.com)

Oil meanwhile dropped to below US$31 per barrel and in Asia stocks in Thailand and the Philippines triggered cessation in trading.

 Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 4.4 per cent – the lowest it has been in four years and, and South Korea’s market lost 3.9 per cent.

In South Korea it is more bad news, with reports that a new outbreak has started in the capital city Seoul where business process outsourcing workers have been pointed to as the source of the virus. 

People in protective masks walk under decorations for Lunar New Year celebrations in Beijing on January 25.

The country is thinking about locking down all call centres.

Interest rates for bonds sank as investors sought en masse to reach the safe harbour. Following hiccups in treasuries trading on Thursday, the Fed said it would pump in at least US$1.5 trillion.

The suspension of games by the NBA also hit the investment community hard, contributing to negative sentiment.