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Mar 20 2020

Dow Be Down Down

The story you are about to read is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the ignorant.

U.S. markets wrap up worst week since the 2008 financial crisis
By Thomas Heath and Taylor Telford, Washington Post
March 20, 2020

U.S. markets finished one of their all-time messy weeks Friday, tumbling more than 10 percent from where they began Monday to wrap up their worst weekly finish since the 2008 financial crisis. Stocks were wrenched all week in hourly spasms as investors try to fathom where the coronavirus will eventually leave the U.S. economy.

The craziness ran right up to the closing bell, as the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and Dow Jones industrial average plunged more than 3 percent minutes after the World Health Organization warned that global health systems were “collapsing” under the coronavirus.

The Dow shed 925 points, more than 4.6 percent, to close a 19,173 — erasing all Trump-era gains. The S&P finished at 2,305, down 4.3 percent, while the tech-centric Nasdaq composite slid 3.8 percent to close at 6,880.

Investors remain in the same fog they’ve inhabited since markets began their swift drop in February, after the S&P 500 and Dow hit all-time highs. All three indexes are now in a bear market decline of at least 20 percent from their top. The Dow and S&P have erased more than 30 percent in a month.

“We had years of low volatility and rising markets, and this virus crisis made it call come to an end at once,” said Kathy Jones, chief fixed income strategist at the Schwab Center for Financial Research. “There is no endpoint in sight and that’s causing a degree of panic because people are saying, ‘I just need to hold some cash.’ There will be more turmoil, but we flushed out a lot of the people who were leveraged. A lot of good things are happening to restore liquidity and order to markets.”

Markets lurched all week, but nothing signified the chaos like oil prices, which dropped below $20 a barrel on Friday — a mark not seen in years. Oil prices are so low that the industry may go through a generational restructuring. Prices need to be at least in the $50 barrel range for companies and producing states to make a profit.

Oil prices saw their worst and best percentage changes in back-to-back days Wednesday and Thursday as the Saudi-Russian feud resets markets. The federal government said it might jump in, ordering millions of barrels of oil purchases for the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help soak up excess supply and protect prices.

Governments and central banks have unleashed a torrent of measures to relieve the economic stranglehold of the coronavirus. But those moves have yet to calm investors and institutions that have been unloading assets from stocks to bonds to gold in order to meet cash obligations.

“People feel like a battered boxer, unsure of how to respond to a flurry economic punches,” said Sam Stovall of CFRA Research. “The good news out of this bad news is the volatility looks like it is coming to a crescendo. Only two other periods in the past half-century have seen a high level of volatility.

Ok ek, how long have you been sitting on that one?

The important thing about my jokes is they amuse me.

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