Opening Bell 3.10.20 - Dealbreaker

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A BLOWN FUSE – MARKETS FREE FALL, TRADING HALTED

“Do not pass GO. Do not divest $200.” - the S&P 500 plunge protection team, probably. 

Markets opened lower yesterday, as oil drama and COVID-19 fears continued grip markets. And that was the high point of the day ...

Stocks got dunked on Monday. In fact, not too long after the open, trading was halted as the S&P 500 fell 7% past its previous open. The dramatic drop triggered the circuit breakers, which halted trading for fifteen minutes, presumably so investors could pour one out for their wallets.

Circuit breakers?

Yep, you read right. Former US Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady brought circuit breakers to the US trading floor after the flash crash of 1987 (bad year). Originally implemented for the Dow, the S&P inherited the fail-safe, with a goal of giving hedge funds, institutional investors, and regular traders like you and me a breather before potentially selling off any more stock. 

The circuit breakers were last #triggered in 1997, when they were activated twice on the same day to stop the, well, bleeding, on Bloody Monday. 

But, does it work?

It did yesterday. The lows held for the AM, before the S&P eventually closed down 7.6% on the day. The Nasdaq also fell 7.29%, and the Dow… don’t get me started. 

Less than two weeks after having its first same-day loss of over 1k points, it beat its own record by closing down over 2k points. Really puts the DOW in down, doesn’t it? The energy and financial sectors dragged down the index, which had its worst day since 2008 (also a bad year), and fell within 65 points of reaching a bear market. You hear that, Ed? Bears.

Not to be outdone

Oil benchmarks had their worst trading day since 1991 when Iraq invaded Kuwait, with WTI and Brent crude both falling over 24% over concerns of the tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia. Investors fear an oversupply, but I’m sure you already knew that.

The bottom line...

If this clusterf*ck doesn’t spell the end of the human race, this could be a great opportunity to buy the f*cking dip. That is, of course, if you aren’t using Robinhood as your brokerage ...

Robinhood had performance issues again (“I swear this never happens!”), with trading partially restored at 10:30 AM for some users, although many faced issues throughout the day.

If Robinhood and the markets past 24-hours is any indication we’re in for another rough week balls deep in correction territory as we flirt with a bear market. 

That is, of course, unless Uncle Sam has a trick or two up his sleeve as POTUS hinted at last night. We can expect to hear more this afternoon about potential payroll tax relief, assistance for hourly wage earners who can’t afford to stay home if they are sick and industries disrupted by the outbreak.

Stocks Fall More Than 7% in Dow’s Worst Day Since 2008 [WSJ]

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