Dow tumbles more than 500 points as COVID-19 shutdown slams economy

Stocks fell sharply on Wednesday as the COVID-19 shutdown slams the economy. Dismal economic data and weak bank earnings fueled concerns over the coronavirus’ impact on the U.S. economy.

COVID-19 shutdown slams economy. Image: COVID-19 coronavirusFred Imbert and Maggie Fitzgerald for CNBC:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 530 points at the open, or 2.2%. The S&P 500 slid 2.3% while the Nasdaq Composite traded 1.9% lower.

Retail sales during the month of March plunged a record 8.7%, according to a report from the Commerce Department published Wednesday. That was the largest one-month decline since the department began tracking the series in 1992… “This points to a very severe recession because this is just the beginning of a series,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities. “The consumer’s not spending.”

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he believes some states will be able to lift the strict social distancing measures that have strained their economies before the end of April. “The plans to reopen the country are close to being finalized,” Trump said at a press briefing on the virus in the Rose Garden. “The day will be very close because certain states as you know are in a much different condition and are in a much different place than other states. It’s going to be very very close. Maybe even before the date of May 1st,” he said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s optimistic tone about the outbreak in his state, the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, also boosted investor sentiment [on Tuesday].

MacDailyNews Take: It’s hardly a shock that the COVID-19 shutdown is slamming the economy. Amazingly, if you close many of the stores, retail sales plunge. Well, the rollercoaster continues – hang on, everybody!

Again, the sooner we can all get back to work, in relative safety*, the better.

*Nothing is perfect on this rock. We need both a functioning economy and COVID-19 mitigation to coexist as best as humanly possible. This is not an “either/or” issue, this is a “how do we do both the best we possibly can.” We need a nuanced pre-vaccine mitigation plan – social distancing, masks, work from home as much as possible, no handshakes, frequent hand washing, hand sanitizer everywhere, travel limits, etc. – for when this temporary lockdown ends, as it must, many months before a vaccine is available.


  1. “Again, the sooner we can all get back to work”

    ALL??? Such stupid wish casting. We’re headed into a recession bigger than anything seen in a long time. Unemployment will be exceedingly high for a very long time, many jobs will never come back.

    What’s with the false hope? Get back to illuminating and discussing how this will affect Apple’s products and services. One stimulus check and a few months of elevated unemployment check payments will do nothing to provide any long term economic health.

    The only people who are buying Apple hardware are those who have some credit card capacity to burn before they go bankrupt. Everybody else is holding their cash reserves close, preparing for the depression.

    Give us some economic reality, not a bunch of baseless happy speak, and some empathy for the millions and millions who will never get their job back, or find something different to do in an economy that bears no resemblance to the past.

    1. Sunshine,

      You’re wrong. Let’s check back here a year from today and see how things have progressed, shall we?

      I’ve marked my calendar. See you here on April 15, 2021!

      Pay no attention to the doom-and-gloomers. Those are not the type of people who get things done.

      1. Neither are the type of people who dismissed coronavirus as “a mild flu” that did not justify social distancing, expedited testing, or ordering supplies until thousands of Americans were dying of it

        1. More Americans died last year of the flu than the China Virus so far. Social distancing and the control freak politicians will kill far more people. We’ve delayed the natural process of herd immunity which should have been over by now.

            1. It’s amazing to me that non-Med pros are so sure, even when the Med-pro opinion varies greatly.

              People are going to get sick/die, regardless of the fork taken. One of the forks will result in a more diverse measure of carnage, though.

          1. To develop herd immunity, Dr. Wittkowski suggests 80% of the population need to become infected. The current US population is about 330 million, so that would be about 264 million. While it’s true that many don’t feel ill (and we don’t actually know that percentage is) let’s say that only 0.1% of those peoplewho are infected die. That would mean 2.6 million deaths.. Do you really think that’s a fair trade off? There are a lot of assumptions that would have to prove to be accurate before we could even depend on that number. It could be much higher. If you want to argue that millions of deaths are just the price we pay to extinguish the virus, go for it.

            1. Good try, but some folks here would simply deny that 0.1% of 260 million is 260,000. Or they would say that a quarter-million dead is acceptable. Or they would fall back on “mild flu” and claim that Covid-19 is substantially less deadly than the 0.1% for seasonal flu, denying the evidence that we have all seen.

    2. Recently reported “Housing starts” we’re the lowest EVER. If you’re in the RE sector as an investor, big or small, you’re not having fun finding tenant’s payment. REITs are struggling because they’re always poorly capitalized and that reality is causing default for many.

      Our economy was to a great degree nationalized. Corporate dept was approaching 75% of GDP. Speaking of which, it’s been reported that GDP will drop 40% in Q2 and unemployed will be close to 20%.

      It’s sad when people think that it’s just a matter of the virus. The World economy was showing significant signs of weakness over a year ago. China has a shite-show of their own and with the US consumer being their biggest buyer, and we’re not buying, the Chinese market gets hit more.

      Just yesterday stocks rose to “comforting highs” and many seriously thought it was a sign of a bottom. There’s no hope to be taken from the market b/c it’s just a juvenile happy with a new toy and pissed when taken away. As long as Fed Chair Powell and Treasury’s Manuchin talk about “assistance,” we’re still in trouble. Bubble News will tell you otherwise.

      Fortunately Apple is heavily capitalized and can endure. As Steve said back in the financial drop in ‘01, “we’re going to innovate ourselves out out” of this mess. I trust/ hope TC and crew has the same focus.

  2. Confidence. This is what will be lacking for this recovery. The longer this goes on, the less confidence people will have to resume everyday life. Let’s see, California governor says restaurants won’t have much seating, everybody must wear masks and have their temperatures taken. Do you really think people will suffer this for a sit down meal? I don’t. Expect years and America is never the same again boys and girls.

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