Seven weeks after the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the U.S., the outbreak is now classified as a pandemic and it's doing widespread damage to critical economic sectors of the global economy. Airlines are dropping routes because people are not flying, workers are staying home, public events that raise millions of dollars for local communities have been canceled and oil prices have sunk to near $30 a barrel. Here's a look at some of the hardest hit sectors in the S&P 500, and how far they've fallen in the past 30 days.
FINANCE AND BANKING (-33%)
Banks have been punished by falling interest rates. Interest payments on loans are a major source of revenue. The Fed last week lowered its main borrowing rate by half a point to combat the economic drag from the outbreak. Analysts suspect another cut may be coming soon. But there is also the anticipation of slowing global economic growth, which was already underway before the pandemic hit. That would mean slowing business, and fewer fees, for banks that employ millions of people. On Thursday, the U.S. Federal Reserve injected $500 billion into short-term lending markets to address disruptions in the Treasury market. It is also broadening its ongoing purchases of Treasurys to include longer-term bonds. The action, being led by the New York Fed, is intended to keep credit markets functioning and ensure that banks can continue to provide loans to businesses and other borrowers across the economy.
INDUSTRY AND MANUFACTURING (-32%)
Manufacturers are also taking a hit as businesses pull back on orders for goods due to the impact of the spreading coronavirus. Companies like Ingersoll Rand, which makes a wide range of industrial products including many used by the oil and gas industry, has seen its shares lose a third of their value in the past 30 days. Major manufactures like Caterpillar and Deere and just beginning to stabilize from a trade war between the world's two largest economies, China and the United States. Caterpillar on Thursday reported broad declines in retail sales for the three-month rolling period ending in February, with worldwide sales slumping 11% following a 7% decline from January.
DISCRETIONARY SPENDING (-27%)
Technology companies have not been immune to the Wall Street coronavirus sell-off during the past 30 days. China manufactures a wide range of parts for U.S. tech companies, and when the country shut down most of its factories last month, it disrupted the supply chain and left companies without products to ship. Additionally, companies from every sector are likely trimming non-essential spending until the pandemic passes. That means fewer tech upgrades or overhauls, and individuals may pull back on spending as well for everything from iPhones to Xboxes. Alphabet, which owns Google, has lost about one-quarter of its value in the past month. Chipmaker Dell has seen its stock fall about 37% during the same stretch.