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This Is Why the Dow Jones Crashed Harder Today Than It Has in 33 Years

Last Updated March 29, 2023 4:58 AM
Francois Aure
Last Updated March 29, 2023 4:58 AM

The Dow Jones staggered toward its worst single-day crash in 33 years as the Fed scrambled to pump trillions into financial markets.

a man sitting in front of a laptop computer

  • The Dow Jones fell 2,000 points on Thursday despite a historic intervention from the Federal Reserve.
  • Pledging more than $1 trillion in repo interventions over the next few weeks, Jerome Powell is pulling out all the stops to fight the coronavirus.
  • Dow bulls failed to take the bait, and the stock market quickly reversed most of its sharp gains.

The Dow Jones is suffering a grisly meltdown, and not even a historic intervention from the Federal Reserve was enough to stop the stock market’s bleeding.

Barring a last-minute recovery, the Dow could record its worst daily percentage loss since October 1987 – when it fell 22.61% on “Black Monday” and then 8.04% one week later.

Dow Jones Flirts With Ugliest Plunge In 33 Years

a line graph showing the price of a stock market
The Federal Reserve’s colossal mid-day intervention provided only temporary relief for the Dow Jones. | Source: Yahoo Finance 

As the stock market staggered toward the closing bell, all three of Wall Street’s major indices  reported ugly losses.

  • The Dow plunged 2,079.39 points or 8.83% to 21,473.83.
  • The S&P 500 slid 8.47% to 2,509.25.
  • The Nasdaq plummeted 8.41% to 7,283.44.

In the commodity sector, it was a miserable day for any traders looking for safety in the price of gold. The yellow metal dove 4.05% to $1,575.

Given the fact that European travel to the U.S. is set to be suspended, it was unsurprising to see a 5.25% slide in crude oil, but WTI is still holding above $31 per barrel.

Digital asset bitcoin had a miserable day, crashing 23% to $6,069. While it is not clear what would drive this weakness, it seems possible that much like investors in gold, the need for cash could be driving liquidations in BTC/USD.

Fed Makes $1.5 Trillion Effort To Slow The Stock Market Crash

a television screen with a news anchor on it

The Federal Reserve is making a desperate attempt to rescue the flailing stock market. The U.S. central bank announced that it would pump trillions of dollars of liquidity  into financial markets over the next few weeks.

In an explanation for this jaw-dropping amount of stimulus, the New York Fed gave the following statement :

These changes are being made to address highly unusual disruptions in Treasury financing markets associated with the coronavirus outbreak.

While this briefly lifted the Dow off its lows, the sharp gains were erased as bulls questioned the Fed’s ability to shield the economy from a demand shock as enormous as the coronavirus.

ECB Policy Mistake Accentuates Travel Ban Chaos

Thursday brought the worst single-day stock market crash in European history .

  • France’s CAC 40 lost 14%
  • Germany’s DAX lost 12%
  • Italy’s FTSE MIB lost 17%.
a screenshot of a tweet with a picture of a stock market
Source: Twitter 

The European Central Bank meeting appeared to add fuel to the fire as President Christine Lagarde disappointed global markets with the decision not to cut interest rates . If the reaction in Italian bonds was any indication, traders treated this as a policy mistake.

ING strategist Petr Krpata warned that the ECB’s lack of dovishness was a real problem for risk assets  crying out for support:

The lack of perceived conviction from ECB President Christine Lagarde that the central bank is willing to do whatever it takes to help euro asset markets. The remarks “we are not here to close spreads” do risk re-introducing a risk/credit premium into EUR assets and are reminiscent of pouring oil into the fire.

The lack of coordination between the United States and Europe has never been more evident. The ECB has effectively left the Federal Reserve high and dry.

This is unsurprising after four years of a protectionist Trump administration. But the president’s admission that he did not have time to contact European leaders (outside of the U.K.) before unveiling his new travel ban was deeply alarming for a Dow Jones that still correlates strongly with global risk appetite.

a group of people standing around each other

Dow Stocks: This Is A Bloodbath

It was another awful day in the Dow 30  as risk-appetite took an astonishing blow.

Caterpillar, a global bellwether for growth, was down an eye-watering 8.9% as the coronavirus pandemic shuts down economic activity around the world .

a couple of people wearing masks and gowns

Other huge names suffering were Nike – which lost 11.5% because its sales outlook is evaporating – and Disney, which was down 11.7% due to disruptions to its live parks and performances.

The drop in crude is devastating oil companies, and Chevron and Exxon Mobil were hammered to the tune of roughly 9.5% each.

Apple lost 5% one day after it closed all of its stores in Italy . AAPL now trades under the $260 handle.

This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.