From Wall Street to Silicon Valley, these are the top stories that moved markets and had investors, business leaders, and entrepreneurs talking this week on Cheddar.
This was the week that the coronavirus spread to the market. The Dow plunged by thousands of points ー with the markets sliding straight into correction territory. Among the triggers this week: warnings from the CDC that it would be a question of when, and not if, the disease called COVID-19 would hit U.S. shores as new cases spread in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, signaling a longer road to recovery for the global supply chain. Markets also moved after health officials confirmed the first case of coronavirus in the U.S. in a patient who did not have a relevant travel history or contact with other infected individuals ー what could possibly be the first "community spread" of the disease stateside. The fall in markets was made all the more dramatic after it reached record highs just over two weeks ago. Travel stocks, chipmakers, and banks were among the worst hit by the contagion.
U.S. markets weren't the only ones reacting to the outbreak this week. Asian markets moved deep into the red, with some in correction territory. China continued attempts to resume business as usual, including government measures to boost local businesses. Of course, that's tough with travel bans in place as the restriction of people and goods dampen market outlooks. Investors are nervous that COVID-19 will decrease production and consumption as more people stay at home from work, school, and social events.
Between an outbreak in Italy, the largest outside of Asia, and the EU's heavy economic exposure to China, European markets tanked as well. Meanwhile, Iran emerged as the epicenter of an outbreak in the Middle East, and no one is safe: Iran's deputy health minister said he has contracted the coronavirus and was placing himself in isolation.
Commodities markets were rattled by the virus, too. Oil and metal prices plunged, while gold skyrocketed toward $1,700. That signified a typical "flight to safety" move. This was just the latest hit in the sector that was already hurting in the aftermath of the trade war and supply gluts. Returns from commodities are now at the lowest point since 1987, according to the Bloomberg Commodity Index.
Disney CEO Bob Iger's abrupt resignation, effective immediately, sent shockwaves through media and entertainment circles this week. Despite earlier plans to step down at the end of next year he said now is the "optimal time." He’ll stay on as chairman for the next 18 months while Bob Chapek of the theme parks division takes over with hopes that his experience with consumers and data will help the House of Mouse in a new era dominated by streaming.