Mar 9, 2020

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 441 words, a 2-minute read.

D.C. readers: You're invited ... Tomorrow at 8 a.m., please join White House editor Margaret Talev in downtown D.C. (14th and L) for an Axios News Shapers event on cybersecurity.

  • We'll sit down with Sen. Angus King (I-Maine); Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.); Christopher Krebs, director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA); and Lisa Monaco, former White House Homeland Security and counterterrorism adviser. RSVP here.
  • Tune in here tomorrow.
1 big thing: The "circuit breakers" go off
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

American stocks made history today, plummeting so quickly that they activated the NYSE's "circuit breakers" put in place after the Great Recession.

Why it matters: Today's sell-off — the worst single day since December 2008 and on the 11th anniversary of the Great Recession's stock bottom — reflects serious fears that the oil price drop and the coronavirus could throw the economy into a recession, Axios' Courtenay Brown writes.

The big picture: The stock market started rising shortly after trading resumed following the 15-minute break after a 7% drop. After the circuit breaker kicked in, trading was quite orderly and nonvolatile, preventing a bad Monday from becoming another Black Monday.

  • The S&P closed today down 7.6%, or less than 50 points away from a bear market.
  • The Nasdaq Composite sank 7.3%.
  • The Dow Jones Industrials Average closed down 7.8% (or more than 2,000 points).

Between the lines: The benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yield fell to its lowest level on record, 0.32%, before climbing back above 0.5% later in the day. Prior to this year, its yield had never fallen below 1%, per Axios' Dion Rabouin.

  • Yields rise as prices fall, and investors have packed into U.S. government debt at a record pace over the last few weeks, seeking safety as the market prices in a recession.

Go deeper:

2. Coronavirus updates
Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
  1. 35 states, plus the District of Columbia, have reported cases and at least eight have declared a state of emergency.
  2. A fourth Republican congressman is under self-quarantine after coming into contact with a coronavirus-infected person at CPAC.
  3. Israel is forcing all arrivals to self-quarantine.
  4. Vice President Mike Pence personally asked Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu not to target Israel's newly announced coronavirus quarantine only at visitors from the U.S., but to "go global," senior Israeli officials tell Axios contributor Barak Ravid.
  5. The head of the NY/NJ Port Authority tested positive for the virus.
  6. Italy's lockdown now extends to the entire country, its prime minister said today.

Go deeper.

Bonus: Pic du jour

Photo: Eric Risberg/AP

The Grand Princess cruise ship — carrying more than a dozen people infected with the coronavirus — passes beneath the Golden Gate Bridge before docking this afternoon in Oakland.

3. Catch up quick
  1. Cory Booker endorsed Joe Biden. Go deeper.
  2. Prince Andrew has so far "completely shut the door on voluntary cooperation" with investigations into Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking ring. Go deeper.
  3. Gov. Steve Bullock is running for Senate in Montana. Go deeper.
  4. Two Wells Fargo directors have resigned amid pressure over the bank's fake accounts scandal. Go deeper.
  5. Two U.S. Marine Special Operations service members were killed in Iraq. Go deeper.
4. 1 fun thing
Left to right: Rosa, Count von Count, Rosita, Elmo. Photo: Sesame Workshop

Count von Count, a Muppets classic, stars in a "Sesame Street" campaign to help families understand the importance of participating in the U.S. census.

  • Why it matters: No other age group was undercounted more during the last once-a-decade census than children under age 5, researchers say. (AP)

On Thursday, households will begin receiving Census Bureau mail with information on how to respond online, by phone or by mail.

  • The "Sesame" spots, in English and Spanish, were made by Sesame Workshop in partnership with the Census Bureau.
  • They'll air on broadcast partners (including Univision, WarnerMedia and other broadcasters through the Ad Council) and will be made available to PBS stations.

Watch a 1-minute video starring the Count, "Make Your Family Count."

Mike Allen