Stock market live Wednesday: Dow bear market, official global pandemic, Wall Street says no crisis

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, January 27, 2020.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images

Stocks plummeted as the World Health Organization officially declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 1,464 points, entering a bear market. Uncertainty continues to grip the Street as investors try to assess the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Here's what happened:

4:54 pm: 94% of the S&P 500 is currently in correction

94% of the S&P 500 is currently trading in correction territory, which means that 476 companies are more than 10% below their most recent high. Meanwhile 69% of the index is in bear market territory, or more than 20% below the recent high. - Francolla, Stevens 

4:41 pm: Boeing suffers its worst day since 1974, loses 18.15% in single session

Planemaker Boeing suffered its worst day on wall street since December 1974 with a slide of 18.15%, according to FactSet data. The crown jewel of American industrial manufacturing told employees on Wednesday that it was immediately suspending hiring and imposing measures to conserve cash as the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus whacks air travel.The company was already grappling with the fallout of two fatal crashes of its 737 Max craft and the international grounding of the planes. Boeing's stock was, by far, the largest laggard in the Dow and contributed 287 points to the index's 1,464-point slide during the session. — Franck

4:31 pm: Wednesday's market by the numbers:

  • Dow closed down 5.86% for its 4th negative day in 5, hitting a fresh 52-wk low of 23,328.32
  • Dow closed down 1,464.94 for its 2nd biggest point loss ever
  • YTD: Dow is down -17.47% YTD on pace for its worst year since 2008 when the Dow lost -33.84%
  • From Record: Dow is 20.34% below its intraday all-time high of 29,568.57 from Feb 12th
  • S&P closed down 4.89% for its 4th negative day in 5 and hitting a new 52-wk low back to Feb 2019
  • YTD: S&P is down 15.15% YTD on pace for its worst year since 2008 when the S&P lost 38.49%
  • From Record: S&P is 19.22% below its intraday all-time high of 3,393.52 from Feb 19th
  • NASDAQ closed down 4.7% for its 4th negative day in 5
  • YTD: NASDAQ is down -11.37% YTD on pace for its worst year since 2008 when the NASDAQ lost -40.54%
  • From Record: NASDAQ is 19.17% from its intraday all-time high of 9,838.37 from Feb 19th 
  • Russell 2K small caps closed down -6.41% for their 4th negative day in 5 hitting a new more than 52-wk low today back to Nov 2016
  • From Record: Small caps are 26.28% below their 52-wk high of 1,715.08
  • Sectors YTD: 11 out of 11 sectors are negative YTD led by Energy down -44.61% YTD on pace for its worst year ever back to its inception in 1989
  • The least negative sector YTD is Utilities down -6.67% YTD
  • US 10-year note yielding 0.8632% vs. Friday's close of 0.707% hitting a high today of 0.895% its highest level since Mar 6th when the 10-yr yielded as high as 0.92% - Francolla

4:23 pm: VIX closes above 53 after big sell-off

The Cboe Volatility Index rose 6.6 points on Wednesday to close at 53.90. This is slightly below where the index closed after Monday's sell-off, but it marks the first time it has closed above 50 twice in a week since 2009. — Pound

4:27 pm: The Dow closed in a bear market: here's what that means

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed in a bear market. This means that it's now more than 20% below its most recent high, which happens to have been from only last month. The move lower was sharp and swift, and puts an end to the expansion that started in 2009 during the throes of the financial crisis. - Stevens

4:17 pm: Dow's point drop is second largest on record 

The Dow's 1,464 point drop was its second largest in history. The largest was Monday, when the index shed 2,013 points. - Stevens 

4:04 pm: Dow sinks into a bear market

The major averages plummeted during Wednesday's trading session, with the Dow falling into a bear market. The 30-stock index plunged 1,464 points for a loss of 5.86%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also moved lower. The S&P closed down 4.89%, while the Nasdaq posted a loss of 4.70%.

The averages did, however, manage to close above the worst levels of the day. At the lows the Dow dropped 1,689.84 points, or 6.75%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were down 6.07% and 5.91%, respectively, at their lows. - Stevens

3:57 pm: Citi's Corbat says 'this is not a financial crisis' during Trump meeting with Wall Street execs

As the coronavirus outbreaks continues to pressure stocks, Citi CEO Michael Corbat said "this is not a financial crisis" during a meeting President Trump held with Wall Street executives. - Son, Stevens

3:46 pm:  Russell 2000 poised to wipe out three years' worth of gains, Schwab's Sonders says

The Russell 2000, the popular market index which tracks the equity of small-cap U.S. companies, was poised to wipe out more than three years' worth of gains on Wednesday with a daily loss of more than 7%, according to Charles Schwab Chief Investment Strategist Liz Ann Sonders. The day's decline puts the Russell 2000 below its Christmas Eve 2018 lows, she wrote on Twitter. The index is down nearly 25% since the start of 2020. — Franck


3:31 pm: President Trump says 'fully prepared to use the full power of the Federal Government' to respond to coronavirus

As the coronavirus outbreak roils markets, President Trump said on Twitter that he's "fully prepared to use the full power of the Federal Government." - Stevens 


3:25 pm: Investors should consider selling ETFs, BNY Mellon's Liz Young says

BNY Mellon strategist Liz Young said on "Closing Bell" that investors should consider selling some of their holdings in index ETFs and emerging market ETFs to avoid the volatile day-to-day moves in the market. "Who knows what happens tomorrow. If you're overly exposed to passive equities, if you're overly exposed to just market risks, I think on some of those up days trim that back a little bit. You don't want to be overly exposed to the emotion of this," Young said.  — Pound

3:17 pm: Nasdaq hits intraday bear market

The Nasdaq Composite dipped into a bear market on an intraday basis, dropping more than 20% from its 52-week high. The index dropped about 475 points, or 5.7%. All three major average are currently in bear market on an intraday basis. – Fitzgerald

3:12 pm: S&P 500 enters bear market on an intraday basis

The S&P 500 has now entered a bear market on an intraday basis, with the index currently just over 20% below its 52-week high level. - Hayes, Stevens

3:04 pm: Fed increases the size of overnight repos again

The Federal Reserve is boosting the amount of money it's providing to banks for overnight borrowing, raising the top level now to $175 billion. In an announcement Wednesday afternoon, the New York Fed said it would boost the top level it provides in overnight operations to $175 billion from the $150 billion level it had just set Monday. - Cox, Li

3:02 pm: Final hour of trading: Dow tumbles into a bear market

With roughly one hour left in the session, the Dow was down about 1,400 points and was on pace to close more than 20% below its all-time high set just last month. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were both knocking on the door of a bear market as well, falling 5% and 4.8%, respectively. — Imbert

2:15 pm: Dow hits intraday bear market

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped into a bear market on an intraday basis, meaning the 30-stock average was down 20% from its 52-week high. – Fitzgerald

1:43 pm: Stocks accelerate losses, Dow down 1,300

Stocks continued to crater on Wednesday in afternoon trading, following the WHO's declaration that the coronavirus is a global pandemic. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 1,300 points. The S&P 500 was down 4.5% and the Nasdaq lost 4.2%. — Fitzgerald 

12:47 pm: Travel companies getting smashed again

The massive sell-off in cruise line stocks deepened after the WHO declared the coronavirus a global outbreak. Norwegian Cruise Line was down nearly 17%, while Royal Caribbean and Carnival dropped 13% each. Airlines also took a huge beating with American Airlines and United Airlines dropping 8% and 6%, respectively. Hotel stocks were also deep in the red as Marriott and Hilton plunged about 7% each. - Li

12:43 pm: 11 out of 11 sectors are now at least 10% from 52-week high closes, including consumer staples

All 11 S&P 500 sectors are at least 10% off their 52-week high closing levels. The S&P 500 consumer staples sector, which was holding on thanks to its defensive nature, is now 10.42% off its high. The S&P 500 energy sector is now nearly 50% off its high, getting battered amid a slide in oil prices. — Fitzgerald, Francolla

12:31 pm: World Health Organization declares the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic

The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic as the new coronavirus, which was unknown to world health officials just three months ago, has rapidly spread to more than 121,000 people from Asia, to Europe, the Middle East and now parts of the United States. - Stevens

11:57 am: Markets at midday: Dow plummets more than 1,000 as volatility streak continues

Around midday ET, the major stock averages were under pressure amid uncertainty around a U.S. fiscal stimulus package to fend off slower economic growth from the coronavirus. The Dow was down more than 1,000 points, or 4.4%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq had dropped more than 3% each. Those drops put the major indexes closer to bear market territory. —Imbert

The Dow just plunged more than 1,400 points—Eight experts break down the sell-off
The Dow just plunged more than 1,400 points—Eight experts break down the sell-off

11:53 am: 10-year Treasury yield rebounds

Traders are making note of a late-morning rebound in the 10-year Treasury yield into positive territory. It is now at 0.8%. Stable yields lately have led to healthier stocks, but that isn't happening yet with the Dow still down more than 1,000 points and near the lows. -Melloy

11:42 am: Goldman sees this as a softer 'event-driven' bear market

Goldman's prediction for another 15% drop from here ending the bull market is making waves on Wednesday. The report contains some great analysis of bear markets that occur largely as the result of one singular event, as is the case now with the coronavirus. This history makes Goldman believe that while things will get much worse from here, there will be a rapid rebound higher before year-end, as seen in past "event-driven" bear markets. "Using on our top-down 2021EPS estimate, the implied year-end 2020 level of the S&P 500 index would equal 3200, roughly 30% above the mid-year low (prediction)," Goldman's equity strategists write. "This 6-month rally from the trough would be modestly higher than the historical median return following previous 'event-driven' bear markets (+21%)." -Melloy

11:23 am: At least 150 public companies have warned investors about the coronavirus impact

Combing through the data, CNBC found that at least 150 publicly traded companies have now warned investors about the threat that the coronavirus poses to business. The list includes names like Apple, Abercrombie, Costco and Mastercard. Read the full list here. – Bursztynsky, Stevens

11:08 am: Declining stocks at NYSE lead advancers 15 to 1

About 15 stocks listed at the New York Stock Exchanged traded lower for every advancer as Wall Street suffered another massive sell-off amid concerns over talks about potential fiscal stimulus to curb a coronavirus slowdown. Overall, about 2,700 NYSE stocks were lower while just 174 traded higher. More than 70 stocks traded unchanged. —Imbert

11:03 am: Here are Wednesday's biggest analyst calls of the day: Apple, Boeing, Delta, Eli Lilly & more

  • Goldman Sachs added Eli Lilly to its conviction buy list.
  • Bank of America lowered its price target on Apple to $320 from $350.
  • Rosenblatt initiated Go Daddy as buy.
  • Wedbush upgraded American Eagle Outfitters to outperform from neutral.
  • Wedbush upgraded Abercrombie & Fitch to outperform from neutral.
  • Argus downgraded Delta Air Lines to hold from buy.
  • Goldman Sachs lowered its price target on Boeing to $256 from $302

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here— Bloom

10:55 am: Market 'oozes panic' and near a bottom, Paulsen says

The stock market has shown signs of panic and that investors should consider buying stocks on down days, veteran strategist Jim Paulsen said on "Squawk Box" Wednesday. "I don't know where the bottom is here. I think we're close to it, though, I really do. This thing just oozes panic to me," Paulsen, the chief investment strategist at Leuthold Group, said. "The movement — the ferociousness and speed by which stocks have fallen — and now bond yields looks more like the end of a colossal panic ... I would start to nip away at it on these kind of down days that we have." — Pound

10:52 am: Put cash to work when market retests December 2018 lows, Cramer says 

CNBC's Jim Cramer said Wednesday he'll put cash to work once the market retests its December 2018 lows. "I am saying that there is no hurry to buy," Cramer said on "Squawk on the Street." "Cash is really king. This is the first time in this bull market where it's not being facetious."  Stankiewicz

10:49 am: Sell-off deepens with Dow now down 1,000 points

The Dow tanked 1,000 points in late-morning trading as the sell-off on Wall Street intensified. The S&P 500 dropped 3.5%, bringing its week-to-date losses to 6.5%. — Li

10:37 am: 92% of all S&P 500 stocks are at least in correction territory

Of the 505 stocks in the S&P 500 index, 464 are down at least 10% from their 52-week highs. Those stocks include big tech names such as Apple and Amazon. Nike, Mastercard and Facebook are among the 313 S&P 500 stocks that are in bear-market territory, or down at least 20% from their 52-week highs. —Imbert, Francolla

10:31 am: Only 13 companies in the S&P are positive week-to-date:

  • Dollar Tree
  • Digital Realty Trust
  • O'Reilly Automotive
  • AutoZone
  • Dollar General Corp.
  • Arista Networks
  • H&R Block
  • Advance Auto Parts
  • Cabot Oil & Gas Corp.
  • Walmart
  • Genuine Parts Co.
  • Qorvo
  • Huntington Ingalls Industries  – Francolla

9:52 am: Gold on the rise

The Gold SPDR (GLD) was up over 1.1% on Wednesday, on pace for its seventh positive day in eight. Spot gold rose 1% at $1,665.21 per ounce, having fallen nearly 2% on Tuesday on hopes for global stimulus measures. The BoE on Wednesday joined other central banks in cutting rates. Looser monetary policy, while stimulating economic growth, tends to benefit gold, as it cuts the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets.— Francolla, Li

9:47 am: Cloudera surges on earning beat

While the broader market sold off, shares of Cloudera soared more than 7% after beating on the top and bottom lines of its quarterly earnings. The software company reported 4 cents per share, while analysts were expecting a loss of 3 cents per share. Revenue came in at $211.7 million, higher than the forecast of $201.8 million, according to Refinitiv. Next quarter revenue outlook was roughly in line with estimates and earnings outlook was better-than-expected. Full year 2021 earnings and sales outlook topped expectations. – Fitzgerald

9:41 am: 60% to 70% of the German population will be infected by the coronavirus, Merkel says

As the coronavirus continues to spread around the globe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that up to 70% of the German population will likely contract the virus. Germany has so far reported 1,565 cases of the virus and three deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. "When the virus is out there, the population has no immunity and no therapy exists, then 60 to 70% of the population will be infected," Merkel told a news conference in Berlin on Wednesday, according to Reuters. Germany is the largest economy in Europe, and the fourth largest worldwide, behind the United States, China and Japan. -Stevens

9:31 am: Dow drops more than 700 points, S&P 500 falls 2.7%

The major averages opened sharply lower as traders continue to fear the ongoing economic impacts from the spread of the coronavirus. The Dow plummeted 748 points for a 2.8% drop. The S&P 500 fell 2.7%, while the Nasdaq was down 2.5%. - Stevens 

9:11 am: Goldman Sachs says bull market to end "soon," sees another 15% fall in market

Goldman Sachs's top U.S. stock strategist warned clients on Wednesday that the longest bull market in American history will end "soon" and that the market could see another 15% drop from here. David Kostin slashed his mid-year S&P 500 forecast to 2,450, meaning the investment bank now sees the market falling another 15% beyond Tuesday's close to levels not seen since December 2018.

"After 11 years, 13% annualized earnings growth and 16% annualized trough-to-peak appreciation, we believe the S&P 500 bull market will soon end," Kostin warned. "Both the real economy and the financial economy are exhibiting acute signs of stress." — Franck

8:54 am: Dow's roller-coaster ride

In the last nine trading sessions, the Dow has posted a gain or loss of more than 1,000 points on five occasions. - Stevens

8:44 am: Oil slides more than 3%, on pace for its worst week since the financial crisis

Oil prices slid more than 3% on Wednesday as Saudi Aramco said it had been instructed to increase its production to a record 13 million barrels per day. The move comes as tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia have escalated after last week's OPEC talks in Vienna ended with no agreement between the 14-member cartel and its allies. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude and international benchmark Brent crude both plunged 24% on Monday, posting their worst day since the Gulf War in 1991. On Tuesday, WTI jumped 10% as Russia indicated that additional talks were not off the table, although it appears that move may have been short lived. WTI is currently trading 3.8%, or $1.33, lower at $33.05, while Brent is trading at $35.75. For the week, US crude is down more than 19%, putting it on pace for its steepest weekly loss since the financial crisis. - Stevens

8:30 am: Here's where things stand one hour before the open

Losses are accelerating and U.S. stock futures are pointing to steeper declines at the open. The Dow is now set to drop more than 800 points, for a loss of 3.2%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq are poised to open 3.3% and 3% lower, respectively. - Stevens

8:26 am: Don't bet that fiscal stimulus isn't coming, says Evercore ISI

Despite the uncertainty about fiscal stimulus weighing on the market on Wednesday, Evercore ISI believes it wouldn't be wise to bet that nothing is coming. "The non-announcement on fiscal policy yesterday was disappointing and this process will be volatile, but it's important not to lose focus of the bottom line," writes Dennis DeBusschere of Evercore ISI. "Policymakers have clearly shifted into fiscal stimulus mode and are discussing programs to transfer money from the public to the private sector. Neither party is going to tighten the purse strings and refuse stimulus, targeted or otherwise, as the economy continues to shut down." - Melloy

8:22 am: No Biden relief rally this time

Former vice president Joe Biden is projected to win the Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri and Idaho primaries, NBC News said Tuesday night. Biden is gaining momentum and putting distance between himself and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic party's nomination. But stocks aren't responding to Biden's victories in the same way they did after Super Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is slated to open down nearly 800 points on Wednesday. Wall Street firms consider Biden as safer for the market than democratic-socialist Bernie Sanders. – Fitzgerald

8:16 am: Fiscal boost to combat coronavirus slowdown not a sure thing, Raymond James says

Raymond James analyst Ed Mills noted bets on a fiscal response to fend off an economic downturn due to the coronavirus may be premature. "On the positive side, it does appear that President Trump has pivoted quickly towards supporting a bazooka-level fiscal stimulus package," he said in a note. "More concerning is the lack of any congressional consensus (and skepticism) on what any fiscal package should look like and the fact that Congress will be in recess next week, pushing any deal to the week of March 23, at the earliest." — Imbert

8:13 am: Fed expected to go to crisis-era interest rates by April

The Federal Reserve is likely to take short-term interest rates to near-zero by April, according to market pricing Wednesday morning. By next week's Federal Open Market Committee meeting, the fed funds rate, which sets the cost of overnight borrowing and is used as a benchmark for a host of consumer interest rates, is expected to fall 75 basis points to a target range of 0.25%-0.5%, according to the CME's Fed Watch tool. Traders expect the Fed to lop off the remaining quarter-point by April, putting the funds rate where it was from 2008-15, during and after the financial crisis. Market pricing implies the funds rate to trade at 0.12% by the end of 2020; it is currently targeted in a range of 1%-1.25% and most recently traded at 1.09%. – Cox

8:09 am: Bank of America cuts Apple price target

Apple shares fell more than 2% in the premarket after Bank of America Securities analyst Wamsi Mohan cut his price target on the tech giant to $320 per share from $350 per share. Mohan expects Apple's supply chain to be constrained until April or May. "We now expect a more negative impact to global demand, as Covid-19 has spread well beyond China," he said. — Imbert, Bloom

8:06 am: Coronavirus update: U.S. cases exceed 1,000

As of Wednesday morning, at least 113,851 coronavirus cases have been confirmed globally. In the U.S. alone, there have been more than 1,000 cases of the infection. New York state has more than 170 confirmed cases, the second most in the U.S. behind Washington state. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said new cases of the coronavirus in the city were "coming in so intensely." He said almost 2,000 New York City residents were in voluntary isolation while 30 people were in mandatory quarantine. - Li

8:04 am: Last 12 days' average daily moves

As volatility reigns on the Street, the last 12 days' daily average moves — in both directions — have far surpassed the average daily moves for all of 2019. Here are the numbers. - Schacknow, Stevens

Dow Jones Industrial Average: 3.56% (past 12 days) vs. 0.56% (all of 2019)

S&P 500: 3.44% (past 12 days) vs. 0.57% (all of 2019)

Nasdaq: 3.32% (past 12 days) vs. 0.73% (all of 2019)

7:56 am: Travel stocks take a hit again

Airline and cruise line stocks fell broadly in the premarket as uncertainty around a fiscal response to a coronavirus-related economic slowdown pressured them once again. American, Delta, United and JetBlue all fell more than 2.8%. Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Corp. slid 4.5% and 7.4%, respectively. All six of those stocks were squarely in bear market territory entering Wednesday's session, down more than 20% from their 52-week highs. —Imbert

7:54 am: PepsiCo to acquire energy drink maker Rockstar Energy in a $3.85 billion deal

PepsiCo said on Wednesday that it has agreed to buy Rockstar Energy for $3.85 billion as it looks to increase its footprint in the energy-drinks space. The food and beverage giant said that it does not expect the acquisition to have a material impact on its revenue or earnings per share in 2020. If regulators approve the deal, it is expected to close in the first half of 2020. - Stevens

7:50 am: Treasury yields fall amid unclear fiscal plans

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dropped 6 basis points to 0.69% Wednesday morning. Investors continued to seek safety before any fiscal stimulus to offset the impact of the coronavirus materializes. President Donald Trump had pitched a 0% payroll tax rate, but CNBC reported that the White House is far from ready to roll out specific economic proposals. "Regardless of how equipped one might assume Capitol Hill is at determining and delivering a sufficient round of fiscal stimulus, the political process itself adds yet another level of uncertainty," said Ian Lyngen, BMO's head of U.S. rates. The benchmark Treasury yield tumbled to an all-time low of 0.32% on Monday amid stocks' worst one-day sell-off since the financial crisis. - Li

7:24 am: Stocks set for sharp losses at the open, Dow poised to drop more than 600 points

In this market, it will come as no surprise that Wednesday is shaping up to be another volatile day on Wall Street. U.S. stock index futures are pointing to losses across the board at the open. All major averages are set to drop more than 2%, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average poised to open 693 points lower.

The leg lower comes after stocks roared back to life on Tuesday. After spending some of the day in negative territory, the Dow surged in the final hour of trading to post a gain of 1,167 points. Despite the quadruple digit gain, it only accounted for a little more than half of the 2,014 points the Dow shed on Monday.

Uncertainty continues to grip the Street. The yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury is around 0.7%, and oil prices are under pressure again as tensions between powerhouse producers Saudi Arabia and Russia rise. On Wednesday the Bank of England cut its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point, making it the latest central bank to try and quell some of the unease. - Stevens


- CNBC's Jesse Pound, Kevin StankiewiczGina Francolla,  Peter Schacknow, Jeff Cox, Maggie Fitzgerald, Nate Rattner, Thomas Franck, John Melloy and Michael Bloom contributed reporting.

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