Good morning! I'm still in The Swamp at the National Association for Business Economics policy conference.
📺Don't sleep — Season 3 of “Axios on HBO” kicks off 6 pm ET/PT Sunday, March 1! (Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,056 words, 4 minutes.)
As someone has certainly told you by now, the Dow fell by more than 1,000 points yesterday, its worst day in more than two years, erasing all of 2020's gains. Most news headlines assert that the stock market's momentum was finally broken by "coronavirus fears," but that's not the full story.
What's happening: The novel coronavirus has been infecting and killing scores of people for close to a month and, depending on the day, the market has sold off or risen to record highs.
Felix's thought bubble: "In most cases where there are big stock market moves, there’s no obvious big and surprising event that causes the move. Market reports cite 'worries about global growth' or 'concerns about the trade war' or (in this case) something something coronavirus. Even though, as we’ve seen, the market is perfectly capable of ignoring coronavirus news."
Keep it 100: The stock market, like most economic indicators, is generally only useful when you step back and look at the trend.
Axios Markets readers know: Coming into 2020, fund managers expected the stock market to see increased volatility but to ultimately rise by around 5% from its end of 2019 level — the most cited target was for the S&P 500 to end the year at 3300, a mark it had surpassed by Feb. 5.
At the NABE conference in Washington yesterday a number of economists weighed in on the coronavirus outbreak and market reaction.
What we're hearing: Cleveland Fed president Loretta Mester just smiled and shook her head when I asked her about the market's nosedive during a cocktail reception last night.
Tomas Philipson, acting chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said the Trump administration is "sort of taking a wait-and-see approach."
Roger Ferguson, president and CEO of TIAA and a former Fed vice chair, when asked how he thought the Fed should respond to the coronavirus outbreak, said it was "too early to have a strong point of view about that just yet."
S&P 500 returns for the 10-year period ending June outperformed U.S. private equity returns, a new report shows. (Axios)
United Airlines withdrew its 2020 guidance and announced it is suspending flights to multiple Chinese cities through April 24 due to the coronavirus outbreak. (Reuters)
Expedia plans to lay off 12% of its workforce, or about 3,000 employees, in an effort to “streamline and focus” its business. (GeekWire)
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Axios' Ben Geman writes: JPMorgan Chase is the latest financial giant to unveil new climate commitments, and like its peers, it is hard to disentangle how much is motivated by pressure, conscience or simply following the market.
Driving the news: JPMorgan said Monday that it will not provide project finance for Arctic oil-and-gas projects or coal-fired power plants unless they trap CO2 emissions, per Axios' Amy Harder.
Some of the other pledges include...
Why it matters: JPMorgan is the banking sector's largest provider of fossil fuel finance, per analysis from several green groups led by the Rainforest Action Network.
But, but, but: While JPMorgan is emphasizing its engagement on climate and clean energy, it's also following market trends as energy companies move away from some forms of carbon-intensive and expensive projects.
Legal and financial troubles continue to mount for two prominent opioid manufacturers, Axios' Bob Herman writes.
Driving the news: As part of its bankruptcy proceedings, Purdue Pharma launched a $24 million ad campaign to tell people how they can file claims against the company if they or family members were hurt or killed by Purdue’s prescription opioids, AP reports.
The big picture: The prospect of multibillion-dollar settlements — which are still a long way from being hashed out — is bringing painkiller companies that were once immensely wealthy to their knees.
RIP to the amazing and awe-inspiring 👑Katherine G. Johnson, who died Monday at the age of 101.
Born Aug. 26, 1918, Johnson was "a NASA mathematician, trailblazer in the quest for racial equality, contributor to our nation’s first triumphs in human spaceflight and champion of STEM education," according to her biography on NASA's website. "Katherine G. Johnson stands among NASA’s most inspirational figures."