After suffering the worst first quarter in history, the market kicked off the second quarter in the red. The S&P 500 fell for the third time in four days as investors continued to search for a bottom amid the coronavirus crisis. President Donald Trump struck a pessimistic tone about the pandemic, telling Americans to brace for “very, very painful two weeks” ahead. Here’s what happened:
4:18 pm: Sell-off by the numbers
- Dow closed down 4.44% for its worst day since March 20 when the Dow lost 4.55%
- Year to date: Dow is down 26.61%, on pace for its worst year since 2008 when the Dow lost 33.64%
- Dow is 29.17% below its intraday all-time high of 29,568.57 from Feb. 12
- S&P closed down 4.41% for its worst day since May 18when the S&P lost 5.18%
- Year to date: S&P is down 23.53%, on pace for its worst year since 2008 when the S&P lost 38.49%
- S&P is 27.2% below its intraday all-time high of 3,393.52 from Feb. 19
- Sectors: 11 out of 11 sectors were negative Wednesday day led by Utilities down 6.12% — Francolla
4:01 pm: Dow closes down more than 900 points
Stocks started the second quarter with steep losses as the Dow ended the session about 970 points lower. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq dropped 4.4% each. Investor sentiment turned sour again after U.S. officials warned of more pain ahead in the depth of the coronavirus crisis. Boeing led the declines in the blue-chip Dow, tanking 12.4%. — Li
3:46 pm: Stocks extend losses minutes before the close, Dow down 1,100 points
Wednesday’s sell-off gained steam in the final minutes of the trading session. The Dow tanked 1,100 points to its session low, while the S&P 500 dropped 5%. Shares of Boeing plunged 12%, dragging down the 30-stock average.— Li
3:28 pm: Rosengren says unemployment to rise ‘dramatically’ so more help will be needed
Boston Federal Reserve President Eric Rosengren said the central bank has “acted quickly” to help markets and the economy but more will need to be done. Specifically, he said Wednesday that Congress likely will have to deliver more stimulus to help those at the lower end of the economic spectrum and to boost small business. Unemployment is likely to “rise pretty dramatically over the next couple of months” and the economic damage won’t abate until the coronavirus is brought under control, he said. “I don’t think we’ll turn a corner until people feel comfortable taking mass transit again,” he said.— Cox
3:08 pm: Final hour of trading: Dow plunges 900 points to start the new quarter
With less than one hour left in the trading session, the Dow was down more than 900 points as growing fears over the coronavirus’ health and economic implications rattled investors. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state would have a high death rate through July, citing projection models. Those comments came after President Donald Trump said Tuesday night the next two weeks will be tough for the U.S. —Imbert
3:03 pm: Rocky earnings season ahead
Heading into earnings season, investors should expect delayed reports, withdrawn forecasts and confusing results from U.S. businesses grappling with the coronavirus shutdown. Analysts are expecting S&P 500 earnings growth to decline 5.2% in the first quarter, according to FactSet. Due to the coronavirus, the SEC last week said it would give public companies an extension on delivering their earnings reports, so investors should expect delays. Investors should also brace for companies opting to drop their full year outlook due to uncertainty from COVID-19. Companies such as Visa, Twitter, Target, Domino’s Pizza and Deere have already withdrawn their guidance for 2020. –Fitzgerald
2:53 pm: Energy CEOs will meet with Trump Friday at the White House as oil prices tumble
Chief executives from at least seven energy companies are set to meet with President Donald Trump on Friday at the White House to discuss energy policy, according to sources familiar with the matter. The meeting comes as U.S. oil producers struggle to breakeven on the back of tumbling crude prices. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude lost more than half of its value in March — its worst month on record — and currently trades around $20.94 per barrel. At the beginning of the year, prices topped $60. The meeting will include CEOs from Exxon, Chevron, Occidental Petroleum, Devon Energy, Phillips 66, Energy Transfer Partners and former Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm. The companies are not looking for a bailout but rather want market forces to preside, according to one source. —Stevens
2:50 pm: ‘Too many unknowns’ for airlines, Stifel managing director says
Stifel managing director Joe DeNardi said on “Power Lunch” that he expects every airline to apply for payroll help as part of the coronavirus relief efforts and most will apply for access to credit, which could involve the government taking equity stakes in the companies. “This all comes down to the duration of the impact on revenue from the outbreak. The longer this goes on for, the more capital that certain airlines are going to need, the less leverage their going to have in negotiating the terms of that, and the more costly and dilutive for equity holders it’s going to be,” DeNardi said. Stifel downgraded JetBlue and American Airlines to hold from buy. Shares of American are down more than 12% Wednesday, while JetBlue has sunk nearly 10%. —Pound
2:29 pm: Don’t try to time the market, CIO says
Bryn Mawr Trust CIO Jeffrey Mills said on “Power Lunch” that the sharp bounce markets had from their recent low shows that investors should not try to time the market. “If you get the timing right getting out of the market, you might feel vindicated over a couple-of-weeks period if the market continues to go down. But that second decision, that buying back into the market, is extremely difficult,” Mills said, adding that investors should look for areas that may outperform, singling out smaller cap stocks and value stocks as areas where people can find winners. —Pound
1:19 pm: Cramer shares stocks to own in the second quarter
1:15 pm: Stocks sink in afternoon trading, Cuomo gives virus update
The Dow fell further to be about 900 points negative for the day, trading around the 21,000 level. The S&P 500 fell 4.25% and the Nasdaq dropped 3.8%. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in his daily briefing that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state climbed by more than 10% in the past day and are now more than 83,000. Several models the state is looking at show the virus peaking in the state in late April, Cuomo said, but one model showed a high death rate continuing into July. — Pound
12:34 pm: Macy’s to be booted from S&P 500
Struggling retailer Macy’s will be removed from the S&P 500 after this week as the United Technology merger with Raytheon creates two new spinoffs that will be part of the index. Shares of Macy’s dropped more than 8% on Wednesday, falling to levels not seen since it emerged from bankruptcy in 1992. The stock will now be part of the S&P 600 Small Cap Index. —Pound
12:18 pm: NYSE decliners lead advancers 13-1
Roughly 13 stocks declined for every advancer at the New York Stock Exchange as the market began the second quarter on the wrong foot. More than 2,700 NYSE-listed stocks were lower while around 200 traded higher, FactSet data shows. —Imbert
11:46 am: Markets at midday: Stocks tumble in first day of second quarter
The first day of the new quarter resembled the last day of the previous one as stocks fell sharply amid concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. The Dow fell more than 600 points, or 3.1%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.4% and 2.7%, respectively. Wednesday’s decline added to the sharp losses from the previous session, which was the last day of the first quarter. —Imbert
11:02 am: ‘The other bomb that’s dropping’ — Cramer’s warning as first shale company files for chapter 11
Analysts have warned that falling oil prices will lead to a wave of consolidation or bankruptcies in the U.S. energy sector, and the Street got its first taste of what could be to come when U.S. shale producer Whiting Petroleum filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday. “The oil patch is falling apart … This is the other bomb that’s dropping,” CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Wednesday on “Squawk on the Street.” “I think they’re the first of many,” he said in reference to Whiting’s bankruptcy filing.Oil producers are struggling to breakeven as crude prices tumble. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude currently trades around $20.36 per barrel, after losing more than half its value in the month of March. The contract is coming off its worst month and quarter on record. Depressed prices have hit the industry hard — the S&P 500 energy sector has dropped 53% this year. – Stevens
10:51 am: Wall Street analysts see plenty of buying opportunities as second quarter begins, including Verizon and JPMorgan
- Goldman Sachs added Verizon to its conviction buy list.
- Bernstein raised its price target on Netflix to $487 from $423.
- KBW upgraded JPMorgan to outperform from market perform.
- SunTrust upgraded Denny’s to buy from hold.
- MKM upgraded Papa John’s to buy from neutral.
- JPMorgan downgraded AT&T to neutral from overweight.
- Goldman Sachs resumed coverage of Pepsi and Philip Morris with buy ratings.
- Citi upgraded Dollar Tree to buy from neutral.
- Wedbush upgraded D.R. Horton to outperform from neutral.
- Stifel downgraded JetBlue and American Airlines to hold from buy. —Bloom
10:11 am: IMF says coronavirus crisis requires ‘wartime’ policy response
The International Monetary Fund said in a blog post that governments should approach the pandemic as if it is war by providing key supplies to the health care sector, cash transfers to individuals who lost their jobs and “exceptional support” like wage subsidies to private companies. The IMF said “greater intervention from the public sector” is warranted while the pandemic lasts. The Fund predicts the “war” phase of the pandemic will endure “at least” one to two quarters. — Schulze
10:09 am: March’s ISM manufacturing index hits 49.1, signaling contraction as coronavirus dents economy
U.S. manufacturing activity contracted in March as the coronavirus pandemic continues to weaken the economy, data released Wednesday by the Institute for Supply Management showed. The PMI index hit 49.1 in March. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected the ISM manufacturing PMI to fall to 44.5 in March from 50.1 in February. Any number below 50 signals contraction. — Fitzgerald
9:43 am: Legere steps down as T-Mobile-Sprint deal closes
The merger between telecom giants T-Mobile and Sprint officially closed Wednesday morning. The combined company will operate under the name T-Mobile and will trade under the ticker TMUS on the Nasdaq, just like the old T-Mobile. With the deal finished, T-Mobile CEO John Legere has stepped down and Mike Sievert takes over. The transition comes one month earlier than scheduled. — Pound, Feiner
9:40 am: Treasury Secretary Mnuchin says he’s having ongoing discussions about infrastructure
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Wednesday that he is part of ongoing discussions with congressional lawmakers about a potential infrastructure bill that would be designed to help boost the U.S. economy as it struggles to cope with the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak. “As you know, the president has been very interested in infrastructure. This goes back to the campaign: The president very much wants to rebuild the country,” Mnuchin told CNBC’s David Faber. “And with interest rates low, that’s something that’s very important to him.” “We’ve been discussing this for the last year with the Democrats and the Republicans. I’ve had ongoing conversations with Richard Neal on this. And we’ll continue to have those conversations,” he added. — Franck
9:31 am: Stocks start the quarter lower, Dow down 850 points
U.S. stocks started the second quarter in the red, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling more than 850 points at the opening bell on Wednesday. The S&P 500 fell 3.7% and the Nasdaq Composite fell about 3.1%. — Fitzgerald
9:24 am: El-Erian: Investors who want to buy stocks should dollar cost average
Mohamed El-Erian said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Wednesday he would be hesitant to put cash to work, arguing the stock market is still on a downward trend. However, the Allianz chief economic advisor said that investors who really want to buy should take “whatever cash you have, divide it over five installments’ and dollar cost average into the market over several months. “No one can tell you for sure how these dynamics are going to evolve,” El-Erian said, adding that picking the exact market bottom is impossible. — Stankiewicz
8:50 am: Second worst start to the quarter ever?
The S&P 500 is poised to open down over 3.5% this morning and if those numbers hold through the close it would be the second worst start to a quarter in the history of the S&P 500, according to Bespoke Investment Group. The only quarter that was worse was the first trading day of 1932 when the S&P 500 kicked off the quarter with a decline of 6.9%. The only other quarter where the S&P 500 declined more than 3% was in October 1998 during the Russian debt crisis and the collapse of the hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 secured their worst first quarter on record on Tuesday. – Fitzgerald
8:28 am: What typically happens after the Dow suffers such a bad first quarter
The Dow Jones Industrial Average just posted its worst first quarter on record after the coronavirus pandemic sparked a historic sell-off. CNBC looked at the top 15 worst first quarters in history for the 30-stock benchmark, to get an idea of how markets fare the rest of the year after a brutal first three months. On average, the Dow managed to pare most of the first-quarter losses during the remainder of the full year. However, the blue-chip average tends to still finish the year in the red, with a median annual loss of 3.5%, according to CNBC’s analysis. — Li
8:22 am: US companies cut 27,000 jobs before the worst of the coronavirus shutdown hit, ADP report shows
Companies reduced payrolls by 27,000 in early March before the worst of the coronavirus-induced economic freeze, according to a report Wednesday from ADP and Moody’s Analytics. Actual losses for the month were far worse as indicated by the millions of people who already have filed unemployment claims. Wednesday’s report covers the period through March 12. This is a stark contrast to February’s gain of 179,000 jobs. — Cox
8:17 am: Oaktree Capital’s Howard Marks says its time to buy, but moderation is key
Oaktree Capital co-chairman Howard Marks is leaning toward a more negative outlook because of the uncertainty from the coronavirus pandemic, but still, he said investors can do some buying as “things have gotten cheap enough.” The billionaire investor said, “I personally think that securities are low enough to buy a little. Somebody said to me, ‘is this the time to buy?’ I say no, ‘this is a time to buy.'” He urged investors to take a moderate approach in these uncertain times, adding that his approach “is not black or white, buy or sell.” — Tan, Fitzgerald
8:07 am: Jeffrey Gundlach says the coronavirus sell-off will worsen again
DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeffrey Gundlach believes the coronavirus sell-off is not over yet and the market will hit a more “enduring” bottom after taking out the March low. “The low we hit in the middle of March … I would bet that low will get taken out,” Gundlach said in an investor webcast on Tuesday. “The market has really made it back to a resistance zone and the market continues to act somewhat dysfunctionally in my opinion. … Take out the low of March and then we’ll get a more enduring low.” The S&P 500 tumbled into a bear market at the fastest pace ever as the coronavirus pandemic caused unprecedented economic uncertainty. The equity benchmark hit a three-year closing low of 2,237.40 on March 23, more than 30% from its record high reached in February. – Li
8:03 am: Virus cases continue to climb
There are more than 873,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus globally, including at least 189,633 in the United States. More than 4,000 people have died in the U.S. Cases in Spain surged past 100,000 on Thursday, with 7,719 new cases and 864 deaths in 24 hours. — Pound
7:58 am: Mortgage applications to buy a home drop 24% annually
Mortgage applications to purchase a home fell 11% last week and were 24% lower than last year as the coronavirus dents the spring housing market. Real estate agents and homebuilders have reported a sharp drop in buyer interest, and open houses and model homes are shuttering. While potential home buyers are backing away, more borrowers are refinancing to save money on monthly payments. Driven entirely by refinancing, total mortgage application volume increased 15.3% last week compared with the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index. Volume was 67% higher than one year ago, when interest rates were higher. After rising for two weeks, mortgage rates plunged to the lowest level in the MBA’s survey. —Stevens, Olick
7:56 am: Trump tells Americans to brace for ‘very, very painful two weeks’ ahead
President Donald Trump warned Americans of “very, very painful two weeks” ahead as the coronavirus cases are expected to surge in the U.S. “This could be a hell of a bad two weeks. This is going to be a very bad two, and maybe three weeks. This is going to be three weeks like we’ve never seen before,” Trump said at a White House press conference Tuesday. White House officials are projecting between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths in the U.S. with coronavirus fatalities peaking over the next two weeks. “When you look at night, the kind of death that has been caused by this invisible enemy, it’s incredible.” —Li
7:20 am: Stock futures dive to start the second quarter
U.S. stock futures fell sharply on Wednesday, the first day of the second quarter, as investors fretted over the latest White House projections on the coronavirus outbreak. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down more than 700 points, or 3.4%. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures slid 3.4% and 2.8%, respectively. Those losses come after the Dow and S&P 500 notched their worst first-quarter performance ever in the previous session. They also follow a warning from President Donald Trump, who said the U.S. should prepare for a “very, very painful two weeks” as White House officials project between 100,000 and 240,000 virus deaths in the U.S. —Imbert
—CNBC’s Gina Francolla, Diana Olick, Thomas Franck, Pippa Stevens, Jesse Pound, Maggie Fitzgerald and Jeff Cox contributed reporting.
Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.