Mar 17, 2020 - Economy & Business

Coronavirus forces record-low business conditions

Data: New York Federal Reserve; Chart: Axios Visuals

The first piece of concrete data on the U.S. economy since the COVID-19 outbreak started to significantly impact U.S. firms was released Monday and the results were not good.

Driving the news: The New York Fed's Empire State business conditions index fell by a record 34.4 points this month to its lowest level since the financial crisis in 2009, based on surveys conducted March 2–10. Economists had expected a reading in the single digits.

  • “The impact of the coronavirus was still in its early stages at the time of this survey. Nonetheless, the early indications suggest that the impact was substantial,” said T.J. Connelly, head of research at Contingent Macro Advisors.

Details: The new orders index fell 31.4 points to -9.3 in March. Shipments fell 20.6 points to -1.7. Labor market indicators weakened. Optimism about the six-month outlook dropped to 1.2 from 22.9.

  • Perhaps most importantly, the New York Fed's survey revealed that the number of employees fell to -1.5 from 6.6, and the average workweek fell to -10.6.

Go deeper: The world needs Trump to save it from a coronavirus-induced recession

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Stocks have worst day since 1987

Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

The S&P 500 closed 12% lower on Monday, while the Dow fell 13% (or 2,999 points).

Driving the news: The sell-off accelerated during President Trump's afternoon press conference as concerns about the coronavirus outbreak's economic impact continued to grip markets.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 16, 2020 - Economy & Business

The distracting shiny object: S&P ups and downs

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

For anyone who gets their economic news from cable TV, we're in the craziest period of the Trump presidency so far.

Driving the news: The S&P 500 fell by 3.4% last Monday, Feb. 24. It then fell another 3% the following day, and it fell by 4.4% on Thursday Feb. 27. This week, it rose 4.6% on Monday, fell 2.8% on Tuesday, and rose 4.2% on Wednesday. It's entirely possible we'll see another 3%+ swing today.

Stock losses are mounting around the globe

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Overseas stocks performed even worse than the U.S. on Thursday.

The state of play: Europe’s benchmark index fell 11.5%, its worst day in history; Brazil’s Bovespa dropped as much as 20%, extending this year’s loss to nearly 50% in dollar terms; Canada’s benchmark TSX index lost 12%, for its worst day since 1940.