We are literally witnessing history in the making. For the third time in the last six trading sessions, we have witnessed the largest single day point crash in stock market history. Let that sink in for a moment. On March 9th, the Dow set a new record by falling 2,013 points. Then on March 12th, the Dow set a new record again by falling 2,352 points. Of course what happened on Monday was the biggest whopper of them all. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 2,997 points, and words like “carnage” and “devastation” don’t seem to be strong enough to convey that horror that took place. To put all of this into perspective, the largest single day point crash during the last financial crisis was just 777 points. That means that the crash that we witnessed on Monday was nearly four times as large as the worst single day point crash in 2008.
Of course all of this volatility is being driven by fear of the coronavirus. Even though less than 100 Americans have died so far, investors are completely freaking out.
So what will happen if thousands or even millions of us start dying?
On a percentage basis, the nightmare that we watched unfold on Monday was the worst day for stocks since “Black Monday” in 1987…
Stocks fell sharply Monday — with the Dow suffering its worst day since the “Black Monday” market crash in 1987 and its third-worst day ever — even after the Federal Reserve embarked on a massive monetary stimulus campaign to curb slower economic growth amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 2,997.10 points lower, or 12.9%, at 20,188.52. The 30-stock Dow was briefly down more than 3,000 points in the final minutes of trading. The S&P 500 dropped 12% to 2,386.13 — hitting its lowest level since December 2018 — while the Nasdaq Composite closed 12.3% lower at 6,904.59 in its worst day ever.
Overall, the Dow is now down more than 31 percent from the all-time high set earlier this year.
If you can believe it, all of the tremendous stock market gains that we have witnessed over the last three years have been completely wiped out in just 18 trading days.
Banking stocks were hit particularly hard once again on Monday. Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase were each down more than 14 percent, Morgan Stanley was down more than 15 percent, and Citigroup was down more than 19 percent.
Remember, those are not figures for the entire year.
Those are figures for one day.
Of course the utter carnage was not just limited to stocks. The following is how Zero Hedge summarized some of the other losses that we witnessed…
- STOXX EUROPE 600 ENDS DOWN 4.9%, LOWEST CLOSE SINCE MID-2013
- SOUTH AFRICA’S FTSE/JSE INDEX FALLS AS MUCH AS 12.2%, MOST EVER
- MUNI BONDS EXTEND WORST ROUT SINCE 1987
- COPPER SLUMPS AS MUCH AS 5.2% AMID WEAKENING RISK APPETITE
- BRENT CRUDE OIL PLUNGES BELOW $30 FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 2016
- SILVER PLUNGES TO 2011 LOWS
- U.S. WHOLESALE GASOLINE PRICES PLUNGE 21%
- HYG WORST DROP SINCE 2008
- LQD WORST DROP SINCE 2008
The good news is that there is often a hefty rebound after a historic decline of this magnitude. It appears that stock prices will likely shoot back up a good bit on Tuesday, and that will temporarily soothe a lot of frazzled nerves.
But this coronavirus pandemic is not going away any time soon. Over the past couple of days, restaurants and bars have been shut down across the nation, schools have been shuttered for the foreseeable future, and it has been announced that the entire city of San Francisco will be locked down.
As virtually all forms of activity come to a standstill all over America, our economic numbers are going to absolutely collapse.
In fact, on Monday we got a sneak preview of what is coming…
The New York Fed’s Empire State business conditions index plunged a record 34.4 points to -21.5 in March, the regional Fed bank said Monday. Economists had expected a reading of 4.8, according to a survey by Econoday. This is the lowest level since the financial crisis in 2009.
As we plunge into a truly horrifying economic downturn, businesses all over the country are already crying out for bailouts.
US airlines slammed by the coronavirus are requesting an aid package from the federal government that could amount to about $50 billion, according to industry group Airlines for America.
The requested aid would be in the form of loans, grants and tax relief. The airlines are looking for 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 outlined in a briefing document.
Meanwhile, thousands upon thousands of ordinary U.S. citizens are already losing their jobs. For example, just check out what is currently transpiring in New York…
New York’s unemployment website was overwhelmed Monday as the coronavirus pandemic put tens of thousands of people across the state out of work.
A drastic move by Gov. Cuomo to close all of the state’s restaurants, bars, movie theaters, gyms and casinos by 8 p.m. Monday to contain the outbreak had suddenly jobless workers flooding the Department of Labor with applications for unemployment benefits.
This will soon be happening all over the nation.
So how many jobs could ultimately be lost if this pandemic stretches on for quite a while?
According to Moody’s Analytics, millions of jobs are potentially at risk…
Nearly 80 million jobs in the US economy are at high or moderate risk today, according to analysis in the last week from Moody’s Analytics. That’s more than half of the 153 million jobs in the economy overall.
That doesn’t mean that all those jobs will be lost. But it’s probable that as many as 10 million of those workers could see some impact to their paychecks — either layoffs, furloughs, fewer hours or wage cuts, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.
Needless to say, there is going to be enormous pressure for the federal government to “do something”, and U.S. Senator Mitt Romney has “joined a growing chorus of liberal and conservative economists” in calling for $1,000 to be given to every adult in America…
On Monday, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) joined a growing chorus of liberal and conservative economists are lining up behind a proposal published in the Wall Street Journal by Harvard professor Jason Furman, who chaired the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) under President Obama, that calls for direct government payments of $1,000 to every American adult.
Why not make it $10,000?
We could all use some extra cash.
Of course once this sort of thing starts happening, it won’t be too long before a loaf of bread costs ten dollars and a gallon of milk costs 20 dollars.
Flooding the system with money at a time when economic activity is contracting very sharply will inevitably cause very painful inflation.
Unfortunately, at a moment like this short-term considerations are all that policy makers are really concerned about, and the American people will be demanding “relief”.
So we should fully expect lots of free money to be thrown around. In fact, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced on Monday that her city will provide “$5 million in grocery vouchers to help families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic”.
But I must once again stress the fact that less than 100 Americans have died during this pandemic so far.
If things are getting this crazy already, what is our society going to look like a few months down the road?
According to the New York Times, nearly 7 million Americans could die in a “worst-case scenario”…
So far, the illness – known as COVID-19 – has sickened more than 4,200 people and killed 74.
But as a graphic from The New York Times shows, things could be much bleaker should overall infection rates and fatality rates rise.
In the worst-case scenario 6.99 million Americans would die from coronavirus – 2.74 million of them being those aged 80 and above.
We are just in the very early chapters of this “perfect storm”, and what we have experienced so far is nothing compared to what is coming.
If we can’t even handle the leading edge of this storm, what are we going to do when it really starts raging?