Dow Ends Down More Than 2,350 Points, or 10%, Despite Fed's Major Funding Move

The Dow on Thursday finishes down more than 2,350 points, or 10%, despite the Federal Reserve's move to 'address highly unusual disruptions in Treasury financing markets.'
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  1. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down more than 2,350 points, or 10%, even after the Federal Reserve says it moved to 'address highly unusual disruptions in Treasury financing markets' caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
  2. Coronavirus update: The number of confirmed global cases of the coronavirus has risen to 127,863, according to the Johns Hopkins CSSE, and deaths increased to 4,718. The U.S. has 1,323 cases of the virus and deaths have climbed to 39.
  3. Carnival said its Princess Cruise line will voluntarily pause global operations for its 18 cruise ships for 60 days.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Thursday finished down more than 2,350 points, or 10%, its worst day since the 1987 market crash, even after the Federal Reserve said it would begin wider purchases of U.S. government securities in an effort to prop up markets amid the coronavirus outbreak.

"These changes are being made to address highly unusual disruptions in Treasury financing markets associated with the coronavirus outbreak," the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said in a statement. 

"Today, March 12, 2020, the Desk will offer $500 billion in a three-month repo operation at 1:30 pm ET that will settle on March 13, 2020. Tomorrow, the Desk will further offer $500 billion in a three-month repo operation and $500 billion in a one-month repo operation for same day settlement. Three-month and one-month repo operations for $500 billion will be offered on a weekly basis for the remainder of the monthly schedule," the Fed said in a statement. 

Equities earlier in the session had traded lower after financial measures laid out by President Donald Trump to stem the threat to the economy from the coronavirus made investors even more jittery and the European Central Bank left rates unchanged when markets expected more.

Stocks were halted from trading for 15 minutes soon after markets opened when the Dow and S&P 500 fell 7%, triggering circuit breakers. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 2,352 points, or 10%, to 21,200, the S&P 500 declined 9.51% and the Nasdaq fell 9.43%. 

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq intraday joined the Dow in a bear market, which is defined as a decline of at least 20% in an index from its recent high. The Dow set a closing record of 29,551.42 on Feb. 12.

Trump announced Wednesday night in an address from the Oval Office that travel between the U.S. and Europe would be suspended for 30 days.

He also said he would order the Small Business Administration to provide relief loans to hard-hit companies as well as seek congressional approval of a suspension of payroll taxes.

Trump said his administration was "marshalling the full power of the federal government" and private sector to combat what he called this "foreign virus."

"Many marketwatchers will probably assign (Thursday's) chaos to the travel ban announcement, which is sure to disrupt the normal course of business for the next month," said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy for E*Trade. 

"We’re also seeing Treasuries rally today as yields fall - once again, investors are seeking safe haven anywhere they can. These are no doubt jarring times - investors should take this time to review their portfolio and make sure they’re comfortable with their level of risk. That said, don’t lose sight of the cornerstones of investing - maintain a long-term view and remain diversified."

European markets closed down 11%, the worst one-day drop ever. The ECB made no changes to its three key interest rates, defying market projections, but pledged instead to reopen its dormant quantitative easing program to support the economy as it grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of confirmed global cases of the coronavirus has risen to 127,863, according to the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering, and deaths increased to 4,718.

The U.S. has 1,323 cases of the virus and deaths have climbed to 39.

Trump said he was halting all travel to the U.S. from Europe, with the exception of the U.K., in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The restrictions go into effect Friday at midnight.

"Travel restrictions equal slower global economic activity, so if you need any more coaxing to sell ... after a massively negative signal from overnight trading in U.S. markets, it just fell in your lap," said Stephen Innes, global chief markets strategist at AxiCorp.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised its travel warning for Europe, advising Americans to avoid nonessential travel to specific countries, including Germany, France and Italy. "There may be limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas," the CDC said.

Shares of the three biggest U.S. carriers that fly to and from Europe - American Airlines  (AAL) - Get Report, Delta Air Lines  (DAL) - Get Report and United Airlines  (UAL) - Get Report - tumbled Thursday after Trump announced the 30-day ban on Europeans traveling to the U.S. 

The move hammered an industry already at risk of losing as much as $113 billion in passenger revenue this year because of the coronavirus.

Carnival  (CCL) - Get Report said its Princess Cruise Line would voluntarily pause global operations for its 18 cruise ships for 60 days, affecting voyages departing March 12 to May 10.

Nike  (NKE) - Get Report shares fell after U.S. lawmakers included the sportswear giant on a list of companies it said were linked to the use of forced labor in China.

Nike also was pressured by news that the National Basketball Association would suspend its regular season after one of its players, Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, tested positive for the coronavirus.