Monday's economy & business stories

Stocks fall more than 3% as coronavirus cases spike

Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

Wall Street had its worst day in two years on Monday, following a spike in coronavirus cases in South Korea and Italy. The S&P 500 fell 3.3%, the Nasdaq Composite fell 3.7% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average sunk 1,030 points (3.5%).

The big picture: This is the U.S. stock market's biggest reaction thus far to the coronavirus, largely shrugging it off as a threat to the global economy (though the bond market has not). While the S&P is down from record highs — which it notched last week — the index is still above lows touched earlier this year.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 24, 2020 - Economy & Business

Private equity returns fell behind stocks over the past decade

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. private equity returns fell just below S&P 500 returns for the 10-year period ending last June, according to a report released Monday morning by Bain & Company.

Why it matters: Private equity markets itself as beating public markets over long-term time horizons, and usually providing an illiquidity premium to boot. These new performance figures not only dent such claims, but provide fresh ammunition to critics of public pension investment in private equity funds.

Harvey Weinstein convicted in rape trial

Harvey Weinstein leaves New York City Criminal Court, Dec. 6, 2019. Photo: Scott Heins/Getty Images

A jury in Manhattan found film producer Harvey Weinstein guilty on two of five counts in his rape trial on Monday, including criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree.

Why it matters: Allegations of sexual assault and harassment from women in Hollywood against Weinstein nearly three years ago helped spark the global #MeToo movement.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 24, 2020 - Economy & Business

Intuit reportedly nears $7 billion deal to buy Credit Karma

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Intuit is nearing a $7 billion deal to buy Credit Karma, a San Francisco-based provider of consumer credit-score checks and monitoring services, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: The combined company would hold a staggering amount of personal financial information. For consumers, that means much better recommendations and much bigger privacy concerns.

Agriculture giant Cargill to roll out plant-based meat products

A Cargill meat processing plant in Springdale, Arizona. Photo: Spencer Tirey/Getty Images

Agriculture giant Cargill will begin producing plant-based patties and ground "fake meat" products in April, the company announced Monday.

Why it matters: Cargill, one of the largest privately held companies in the U.S., presents new competition for startups Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods alongside meat giant Tyson Foods, which is rolling out its own plant-based products, Axios' Rashaan Ayesh reports.

Mom and pop investors splurge on stocks

The New York Stock Exchange on Jan. 21. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Trading volume at online and discount brokers like TD Ameritrade and the recently acquired E*Trade has exploded over the past year, Bloomberg reports, with TD Ameritrade alone having seen million-trade days multiplying at a "record pace."

What's happening: So-called mom and pop retail investors are chasing the U.S. bull market via online brokerages, thanks largely to top brokerage firms cutting trading fees to zero.

The yield curve makes its deepest inversion since October

Data: U.S. Treasury; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The U.S. Treasury yield curve inverted again, with 3-month Treasury bills holding a higher yield (1.56%) than 10-year Treasury notes (1.46%).

The big picture: This is the second time the yield curve has inverted in a matter of weeks, and the third time in a matter of months. It's the deepest the yield curve has been inverted since Oct. 9.

U.S. services and manufacturing sink in February

Data: Investing.com; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The U.S. economy has taken a significant hit so far in February, due in part to the coronavirus outbreak.

By the numbers: The all-important U.S. services sector contracted for the first time in four years, data released Friday from IHS Markit showed, and fell to its lowest level in more than six years.

Coronavirus shakes the global economy

Health workers spray disinfectant in Seoul on Feb. 24. Photo: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

New cases of the novel coronavirus have rocked asset prices in Japan, South Korea and Italy, as those nations and others have ratcheted up emergency efforts to contain the outbreak.

What's happening: Asian stock markets continued to tank overnight, as South Korea's Kospi dropped nearly 4%, Australia's ASX fell by 2.3% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined by 1.8%. MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan touched its lowest since early February.