The daily business briefing: March 13, 2020

Stock futures rise after Wall Street's worst day since 1987, Disney closes theme parks for a month due to coronavirus, and more

Disneyland Paris
(Image credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

1. Stocks struggle to bounce back from sharpest drop since 1987

Stocks on Thursday suffered their deepest one-day percentage loss since the 1987 "Black Monday" stock market crash, continuing to fall due to mounting fears of widespread economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted by 2,353 points or 10 percent, closing at 21,200.62. The S&P 500 fell by 9.5 percent, enough to put it squarely in a bear market, meaning it is 20 percent below its recent highs. A 7 percent morning drop triggered a "circuit breaker" to pause all trade at the New York Stock Exchange for the second time in a week. U.S. stock index futures reversed early losses and were up by as much as 4 percent several hours before the start of trading Friday.


2. Disney shuts down theme parks for a month due to coronavirus

The Walt Disney Company said Thursday it was closing all of its theme parks, including Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California, making the company the latest to sharply cut back operations due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Walt Disney Company said the Disney World parks in Orlando and Paris would close for a month starting Sunday. Disney Cruise line will suspend new sailings. The company's California parks, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, are closing Saturday through the end of the month. Disney said it would continue to pay employees through the shutdowns, and refund any canceled bookings at the company's affected hotels.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Local10 Los Angeles Times

3. Report: French antitrust watchdog to fine Apple

France's antitrust watchdog plans to fine Apple next Monday for alleged anti-competitive actions in its distribution and sales network, Reuters reported Thursday, citing two sources close to the case. The sources did not provide details on the scale of the fine. Apple mentioned in its last annual report that French regulators were accusing it of breaking the country's competition law. French authorities said earlier this year that the iPhone maker had agreed to pay $28 million for failing to tell users that operating system updates could slow down their smartphones.


4. New York Fed injects $1.5 trillion into financial system

The New York Federal Reserve announced Thursday that it would inject at least $1.5 trillion into the financial system to calm markets roiled by the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. The New York Fed said the move to ramp up its asset purchases was designed to address "highly unusual disruptions" in the Treasury market sparked by fears of economic fallout from the outbreak. The Fed already has made an emergency 50-basis-point interest rate cut to boost the economy through the crisis. "The Fed is all in. They've fired their nuclear weapon and they did it because financial markets are seizing up," said James Bianco, president of Bianco Research. "There is no liquidity in the markets. They are trying to unstick them."


5. Oil prices drop after Trump announces Europe travel restrictions

Oil prices dropped sharply on Thursday following President Trump's announcement that he was temporarily banning most travel from Europe to the United States to deter the spread of coronavirus. The World Health Organization's decision to declare the outbreak to be a pandemic also fueled fears of a global economic slowdown that could drastically reduce demand for oil. The price war Saudi Arabia launched against Russia added pressure on prices. International benchmark Brent crude fell by 7.2 percent to $33.22 a barrel. U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell by 4.5 percent to $31.50 a barrel. "Global market carnage continues as Wall Street struggles to grasp how long the global pandemic will disrupt travel, trade, and daily life," said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York.


Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.