Globally, the markets’ losses of nearly $6 trillion reflect the fears of investors as COVID-19 threatens the global economy. The downward spiral during the week of Feb 24-29, 2020 is the greatest since the onset of the financial crisis that began in 2008.
By the end of business on February 28, markets in the United States, “most of the indexes were down: S&P 500 (24.52, -0.8%), Dow Jones Industrials (356.88, -1.4%), and Russell 2000 (21.44, -1.4%). The bright spot, using the term loosely, was the Nasdaq, which ended flat,” according to Fortune.
As the news of COVID-19 increased infections and deaths were released, investors lost their nerve to ‘buy the dip” as is the norm when markets plunge.
Billionaires suffered alongside other investors as their stocks dropped exponentially. Bloomberg reports that “the combined fortunes of the world’s 500 richest people fell by $444 billion.” The three biggest losers lost $10 billion combined; Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Bernard Arnault.
Elon Musk incurred the next largest market loss, $9 billion. Eighty percent of the billionaires on Bloomberg’s index suffered losses great enough to place them in the red. “Carnival Corp. Chairman Micky Arison lost $1 billion this week as the world’s largest cruise-line operator held tourists aboard one of its ships in Japan, where at least five passengers have died.”
Investors are apprehensive about what the markets are going to do on Monday, March 1. Their uncertainty is logical according to analysts since COVID-19 infections and deaths continue without any end in sight.
With travel restrictions in place in many countries, pharmacies warning of potential medication shortages, and the WHO declaring the risk assessment just shy of a pandemic, and a possible vaccine at least 18 months away, the world’s markets will likely continue to experience declines.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
FORTUNE: After the markets’ worst week since 2008, Wall Street takes a deep breath and braces for Monday
The New York Times: Wall Street Has Lost Its Nerve. What Will It Take to Get It Back?
Bloomberg: World’s Richest Lose $444 Billion After Hellish Week for Markets