Emily McCormick and Javier E. David March 13, 2020
Wall Street stocks skyrocketed on Friday, recouping a chunk of Thursday’s steep losses in a monster rally as President Donald Trump officially declared a national emergency over the coronavirus outbreak, providing fearful investors with momentary comfort.
Amid new infections and a rising death toll, the president outlined a broad, multi-pronged $50 billion effort designed stave off a pathogen that’s currently ravaging Italy and threatens to overwhelm Europe. In addition to student loan relief — and using the opportunity provided by low oil prices to “fill up” America’s strategic reserve — the initiative will loosen up regulations to allow hospitals to “do what they want” to combat the virus.
“This will pass, this will pass through, and we will be even stronger for it,” Trump said.
Friday’s rally — which saw benchmarks spike by over 9% — provided a brief respite from a bloody 3 week streak that culminated on Thursday, when the S&P 500 and Dow posted their biggest percentage-drop since 1987’s notorious “Black Monday.” The surge was Wall Street’s biggest since the 2008 crisis.
Coronavirus concerns continue to drive market volatility, with the number of cases globally rising to more than 135,000 with more than 5,000 deaths as of Friday, according to data from Johns Hopkins.
The global outbreak, officially designated a pandemic earlier this week by the World Health Organization, has triggered widespread cancelations for major sports and cultural events and corporate conferences, and impelled universities across the country to halt in-person instruction. On Thursday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo banned public gatherings of more than 500 people in New York state, effective Friday evening.
The S&P 500 has gained or lost at least 4.89% every session this week, and plunged enough during the intraday session to trigger “circuit-breakers” to help prevent further extreme losses twice. Each of the three major indices entered a bear market this week, falling more than 20% from recent highs.
Amid these concerns, the response from policymakers escalated throughout the week, with the Federal Reserve adding further stimulus on top of its half-point interest rate cut last week with the announcement of an additional injection of $1.5 trillion in liquidity operations, along with purchases of Treasury securities across the yield curve. Elsewhere, Trump announced a month-long travel ban on inbound travelers from Europe, and said he would offer billions worth of low-interest loans to small and mid-sized businesses getting hit by the coronavirus.
The escalating coronavirus outbreak has also sparked an increasing number of economists to downwardly revise their expectations for global growth in the first half of the year.
4:00 p.m. ET: Stocks close out grim week with biggest rally since 2008
Investors liked what they heard in President Donald Trump’s coronavirus emergency press conference, sending Wall Street benchmarks on a tear following Thursday’s ugly sell-off.
Here were the main moves in markets, as of 4 p.m. ET:
- S&P 500 (^GSPC): 2,710.95, up +230.31 or 9.28%
- Dow (^DJI): 23,185.62, up +1,985.00 or 9.36%)
- Nasdaq (^IXIC): 7,874.23, up +672.43 or +9.34%
- Crude (CL=F): $33.27 per barrel, up $1.77 or +5.62%
- Gold (GC=F): $1,521.40 per ounce, off -$68.90 or -4.33%
- 10-year Treasury (^TNX): yielding 0.9510, up +0.1020 basis points
The session’s most notable moves include the unwinding of some safe-haven plays, with gold extending its deepest weekly loss since 2011, and Treasury yield hitting their highest levels in more than a week (but still below 1%). Meanwhile, U.S. crude suffered its worst week since 2008.