No need to do a double take because, yes, that number is accurate. In late trading today, seven Dow stocks were saddled with losses of 10% or more as Monday, March 9, 2020 looked like a 2020 reboot of the infamous 1987 “Black Monday” crash:
- The S&P 500 slid 7.62%
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 7.80%
- The Nasdaq Composite shed 7.29%
- Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW) was the worst offender in the blue-chip index, down 20.53%, meaning the chemicals producer essentially entered a bear market (a loss of at least 20%) in a single day.
For those near a computer or smartphone on Sunday, and most of us are at least attached to the latter, the ominous day that today turned out to be was forecast amid reports that oil prices would swoon (they did) after Russia and Saudi Arabia couldn’t make nice and decided to enter a price war.
The long and short of it is Saudi Arabia telling Russia, “You want to play chicken? Alright, let’s go.” That’s the message when the kingdom says it’s cutting prices on oil it send to China while promising to flood the market with increased output.
And there is the explanation as to why Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron (NYSE:CVX) were among the Dow’s worst performers with the latter being significantly worse than the former. There may something to see with energy stocks from the long side, but that stage still appears to be a ways off.
Industrials: Again a Mess
Stop, no and don’t are quickly becoming good advice regarding the industrial sector, and you already know a mention of Boeing (NYSE:BA) is forthcoming. The latest chapter in the seemingly never-ending 737 Max saga is the Federal Aviation Administration telling the company that wiring on the jet is not compliant.
Just last month, Boeing thought it didn’t need to remove the wiring bundles, but now it’s clear the FAA thinks otherwise. That’s not good news for this downtrodden stock. Worse yet is the message from the FAA to Boeing, something along the lines of “fix this problem yourself.”
Underscoring just how bad things are for industrial stocks, Boeing wasn’t even the worst-performing Dow stock from that sector today: that dubious distinction goes to Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT).
No Refuge in Financials
Oil presents a problem for big bank stocks, and that includes Dow component JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), which was already under pressure following last week’s news of CEO Jamie Dimon’s emergency heart surgery.
“A sharp decline in oil prices will be a body blow to an industry already at high risk,” said Odeon Capital analyst Dick Bove in a note to clients today.
Bove, one of the most widely followed bank analysts, told clients to stay away from JPM, among other big money center banks.
Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), one of the Dow’s other financial services names, joined JPM in the double-digit loss column today.
Disney: Pick Your Poison
Entering Monday, Disney (NYSE:DIS) was down more than 30% year-to-date before sinking by almost 8% today. While Disney would appear to be a good “stay at home” stock idea, the reality is the markets are focusing on lost box office revenue from all that staying in. Add that to a Disneyland Paris worker testeing positive for the coronavirus over the weekend, and you have a likely explanation for a big part of the stock’s weakness in trading today.
Bottom Line on the Dow Jones Today
Perhaps the most ominous message sent by Mr. Market today is that traditional non-Treasuries safe havens aren’t working or aren’t working all that well. For example, the largest gold exchange traded fund barely closed higher today while the utilities sector is sliding, merely performing less poorly than the broader equity market.
Those are not positive signs and making matters worse is the lack of enthusiasm buyers are currently displaying following these down days.
As of this writing, Todd Shriber did not own any of the aforementioned securities. He has been an InvestorPlace contributor since 2014.