COVID-19

Making sense of Monday’s market sell-off

Justin Ho Mar 10, 2020
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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on March 9, 2020 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
COVID-19

Making sense of Monday’s market sell-off

Justin Ho Mar 10, 2020
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on March 9, 2020 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 2,014 points Monday. That’s a 7.8% drop, the biggest since 2008. The S&P 500 fell 7.6%. Bond prices saw huge gains, with the 10-year yield dropping as low as 0.4% at one point.

The selling occurred across the board: big losses in tech stocks, financial stocks, consumer goods and services. Crude oil in New York dropped 20%, to around $31 a barrel on Monday.

COVID-19 is making demand for oil slow down. George Pearkes at Bespoke Investment Group says, at these prices, the cost of drilling in the U.S. might not be worth it. That means jobs are on the line.

“Manufacturing jobs related to everything from pipelines, to sand, to everything that needs to get done in the oil patch,” Pearkes said. “All the services jobs that go with it.”

The main market concern, though, is what happens if the outbreak, or restrictions involving the outbreak, bring economic activity to a crawl. Does the outbreak lead to fewer people eating at restaurants, going shopping or going to conferences, regardless of how cheap gas prices might be?

Monday happened to be the 11th anniversary of the bull market. If the S&P 500 falls an additional 1.4%, that bull run will have officially ended.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What’s going on with extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

It’s been weeks since President Donald Trump signed an executive memorandum that was supposed to get the federal government back into the business of topping up unemployment benefits, to $400 a week. Few states, however, are currently paying even part of the benefit that the president promised. And, it looks like, in most states, the maximum additional benefit unemployment recipients will be able to get is $300.

What’s the latest on evictions?

For millions of Americans, things are looking grim. Unemployment is high, and pandemic eviction moratoriums have expired in states across the country. And as many people already know, eviction is something that can haunt a person’s life for years. For instance, getting evicted can make it hard to rent again. And that can lead to spiraling poverty.

Which retailers are requiring that people wear masks when shopping? And how are they enforcing those rules?

Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, CVS, Home Depot, Costco — they all have policies that say shoppers are required to wear a mask. When an employee confronts a customer who refuses, the interaction can spin out of control, so many of these retailers are telling their workers to not enforce these mandates. But, just having them will actually get more people to wear masks.

You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.

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