The Dow Jones Industrial Average Takes a Huge Loss as Coronavirus Fears Accelerate

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is declining again to start the second quarter. The slump comes after the U.S. market experienced its worst quarter in recorded history.

The March decline alone was the worst of any month since the October 2008 crash. More details below.

First, here are the numbers from Tuesday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:

Index Previous Close Point Change Percentage Change
Dow Jones 21,917.16 -410.32 -1.84
S&P 500 2,584.59 -42.06 -1.60
Nasdaq 7,700.10 -74.05 -0.95

Now here's a closer look at today's most important market events and stocks. We'll also discuss the stories that slipped under the radar of the mainstream financial press on Wednesday.

The Top Stock Market Stories for Wednesday

  • This morning, investors are starting to speculate on the March jobs report set for this Friday from the U.S. Labor Department. The ADP report on private sector employment offers some clues into what to expect this week. At 8:15 the report said that the United States cut 27,000 jobs before the worst of the coronavirus shutdown impacted the economy. That said, tomorrow's benefits report is likely to show another 3 million people filing for unemployment as the coronavirus fallout continues to batter the American economy.

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  • The number of coronavirus cases around the globe topped 856,900 on Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States has the most cases (188,000), although we're not believing the numbers coming out of China. In fact, the United Kingdom has suggested that the unofficial figures from China could be 40 times more than the 82,278 reported so far. Nations around the world are rushing to improve testing, isolate asymptomatic people from the population, and shore up their economies. Yesterday, the White House projected that upwards of 240,000 Americans could die due to coronavirus.
  • The numbers could get very ugly in April. Starting with tomorrow's unemployment benefits report. Cleveland Federal Reserve President Loretta Mester said that U.S. unemployment could jump to between 10% and 30%. Mester was the only central bank official who opposed the recent decision to slash the benchmark interest rate to 0%. In a conversation with CNBC, Mester said she was uncertain how long the economic slowdown could last, but she did state that we are not facing a "typical recession." Mester said that the U.S. banking system was strong heading into this situation, which echoes recent statements by Minneapolis Fed Chief Neel Kashkari. It looks like this argument will be tested in the weeks ahead with the threat of defaults rising across various sectors.

Stocks to Watch Today: HP, XRX, VZ, BDX

  • Shares of HP Inc. (NYSE: HP) are dipping on news that Xerox Holdings Corp. (NYSE: XRX) has dropped its efforts for a hostile takeover. The deal would have created the largest printer manufacturer on earth. Xerox cited the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 for its decision to stop pursuing the deal. Xerox had offered roughly $24 per share, a figure that would drive HP's value to $34 billion.
  • Shares of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) are off 2.2% on news that the company has been added to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s (NYSE: GS) Conviction Buy list. Goldman likes the company's upside thanks to the stability of the wireless industry and the coming boom in 5G technology.
  • Shares of Becton Dickinson & Co. (NYSE: BDX) are off this morning as part of a broader sell-off in the markets. However, BDX is making noise on news that the firm has developed a new test that could provide results on coronavirus within two hours. The company is seeking emergency FDA approval and is claiming that similar tests have been successfully deployed in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Look for earnings reports from PVH Corp. (NYSE: PVH) and UniFirst Corp. (NYSE: UNF).

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About the Author

Garrett Baldwin is a globally recognized research economist, financial writer, consultant, and political risk analyst with decades of trading experience and degrees in economics, cybersecurity, and business from Johns Hopkins, Purdue, Indiana University, and Northwestern.

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