Stocks on Pace for Worst Q Since 2008 03/31 09:11
Stocks fell in early trading Tuesday, as Wall Street closes in on its worst
quarterly performance since the most harrowing days of the 2008 financial
NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks fell in early trading Tuesday, as Wall Street closes
in on its worst quarterly performance since the most harrowing days of the 2008
The S&P 500 dipped by less than 1% in the first few minutes of trading,
extending its loss for the first three months of the year to more than 19%.
Asian markets rose earlier in the day following a stronger-than-expected report
on China's economy, where factories are reopening as the spread of the
coronavirus slows there. But momentum stalled in Europe, where the number of
deaths jumped in Spain.
The surge of coronavirus cases around the world has sent markets tumbling by
breathtaking degrees since mid-February, halting what had been a good start to
the year. Markets rose early in the quarter with expectations that the economy
was accelerating due to a calming trade wars and low interest rates around the
Benchmark U.S. crude oil has dropped by roughly two thirds this quarter and
hit its lowest price since 2002, for example, while Germany's DAX has lost a
quarter of its value for its worst quarter in nearly 18 years.
The big question is if markets will get worse. At this point, no one knows.
The reason for the huge declines in stock markets from Japan to Germany to
the U.S. is that economies around the world are grinding to near standstills as
businesses close their doors and people hunker down at home in hopes of slowing
the spread of the virus. A record number of Americans applied for jobless
benefits two weeks ago as layoffs sweep the country, and the economy will
likely be in dismal shape until the spread of the virus slows.
The hope is that massive aid coming from the Federal Reserve and Capitol
Hill can help prop up the economy in the meantime. Goldman Sachs economists on
Tuesday said they expect the U.S. economy to shrink 34% in the second quarter,
but they expect growth to rebound in the third quarter.
The S&P 500 was down 0.7%, as of 9:45 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones
Industrial Average dipped 116 points, or 0.5%, to 22,210, and the Nasdaq was
The number of known coronavirus cases keeps rising, and the worldwide tally
has topped 780,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States
has the highest number in the world, more than 160,000.
Most people who contract COVID-19 have mild or moderate symptoms, which can
include fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people
with existing health problems, the virus can cause pneumonia and require
hospitalization. More than 37,000 have died worldwide due to COVID-19, while
more than 160,000 have recovered.
"We're also still not even close to peak coronavirus in the U.S. which has
already reported more cases than any other country and will sadly likely see a
huge spike in the number of deaths, meaning further lockdown measures will
likely follow," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA Europe. "Huge
challenges still lie ahead."