Financial Daily Dose 3.17.2020 | Top Story: The Bear Market Roars, with Markets Falling nearly 13% as Whole Sectors of US Economy Shut Down

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As Americans [way-too] slowly come to the realization that COVID-19 is a very real and very present threat, the business world is changing around them at a staggering pace. Stocks nosedived again on Monday, with the three major indices in the U.S. charting a drop of between 12-13% in the worst single day since markets began reacting to the epidemic (and the second-worst percentage drop in the Dow’s 130+-year history). The Fed’s emergency action on Sunday cutting interest rates to near zero and kicking off major QE only confirmed traders’ jitters, and continued mixed messages from the White House [and Congress, for that matter] didn’t help the cause. All told, whether by owners’ action or state mandate, huge swaths of the American economy are “scraping to an unparalleled halt” – NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch and Marketplace

Still, US regulators and the exchanges themselves are pushing for markets to remain open “despite mounting recession fears” – Law360

Here’s a stark sampling of the economic pain across the U.S. brought on by the pandemic – NYTimes and WSJ

Much of which comes down to this basic idea about the U.S. economy: “one person’s spending is another person’s income” – NYTimes

Airlines have wasted little time in seeking government assistance, with Administration officials reportedly discussing a $50 billion aid package—more than 3 times the size of the post-9/11 bailout—with industry representatives – WSJ and NYTimes and Bloomberg

Meanwhile, a closer look at the 2017 tax code overhaul shows that it limited tax provisions—such as deductions for net operating losses and interest—that could help ailing businesses during the COVID-19-caused downturn. Swift reaction from industry groups may prompt Congress to revisit these changes used a few years ago to help pay for rate cuts – WSJ

Also on the feds’ radar (we hope): a coming crunch for bankers, as clients draw down lines of credit and seek flexibility to address funding needs. Our banking world sources are telling us that they’re hoping for OCC direction on reserve requirements and non-earning asset categorization – WSJ and NYTimes and Marketplace

The shift from in-person to online working and learning has the Times (and others) wondering if the internet can handle the strain on our residential WiFi network. Here’s the latest – NYTimes

Restaurants and other consumer-facing service industries are in for a beating, especially as their fixed expenses (rent, taxes, etc.) continue to mount even as their business has all-but disappeared – NYTimes and Bloomberg

Again, some regular business manages to continue. France, for example, has fined Apple $1.2 billion over accusations that the company made “its wholesalers charge the same prices for products offered in Apple’s own retail stores and abus[ed] its broad economic power over the firms” – NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg

The outbreak won’t delay an OCC enforcement proceeding against former Wells Fargo execs, according to ALJ Christopher McNeil. Both sides asked for a “brief postponement and deadline extension in the case, which the agency brought in January over the executives’ alleged roles in Wells Fargo’s sales practices scandal,” but McNeil wasn’t biting – Law360

Amazon will hire an additional 100,000 workers “as people are turning to online deliveries at a breakneck pace to help contain the spread of the new coronavirus.” Bezos & Co. will increase pay for these employees—largely focused in the e-commerce fulfillment and delivery space—by $2/hour through April – WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch

Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson is out, with outsider James Taiclet—a veteran from the telecom industry—set to replace her by June at the helm of the world’s largest defense company. Taiclet’s been on Lockheed’s board for two years and currently serves as the CEO of American Tower Corp. – WSJ

PG&E has gained bankruptcy court approval of a $23 billion financing package—a combination of debt financing, new equity, and other new shares—that will aid in the company’s “push to exit Chapter 11” – Bloomberg

For all of us out there stressing about what working from home with young ones will mean (especially with concerns about marathon screen-time sessions): it’s okay.  Bend a little. We’re all in crisis mode here – Mashable and WSJ

I mean, if Shedd can bend the rules, we can too, right? – Shedd Aquarium

MDR

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