Black Wednesday? The Day Every Stock Went Down
As Hurricane Michael escalated from a Category 3 storm to a historic Category 4 monster when it made landfall Wednesday, a similarly barreling storm seemed to hit Wall Street simultaneously: The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 831 points, or about 3.2%, with the selloff intensifying in the last few minutes of trading.
It was a panic reminiscent of other October market crashes, both in 2008 and 1987: Of the Dow’s overall drop, more than 100 points were lost just in the five minutes before the market closed. It was the worst drop since February 8, when the Dow fell 4.1%.
Every single stock in the Dow was down Wednesday. In the S&P 500, only 17 stocks managed to eke out gains for the day—largely recessionary favorites like Dollar Tree (up 1.7%) and Dollar General (up .5%), J.M. Smucker and General Mills (each up about 1.5%), and Campbell Soup (up .5%). (The day’s big winner was generic drugmaker Perrigo, which rose nearly 2% after naming a new CEO earlier this week.)
It was an even worse showing than during the February 8 selloff, when 18 S&P 500 stocks came out in positive territory—a potential sign that as this long bull market gets closer to its 10th birthday, the stock market’s survival rate is declining.
Netflix stock was down about 8.4% Wednesday, as was Twitter stock. Amazon stock was down some 6.2%. Microsoft stock and Alphabet (parent of Google) stock were each down more than 5%, while Apple stock as well as the stock of Warren Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway fell nearly as much. Shares of Tiffany & Co., the diamond jewelry purveyor, were down 10.2%.
Even CVS, whose stock initially rose after it finally closed its deal with Aetna, had fallen almost 1% by the end of the day.
The hurricane, the most powerful to hit the U.S. since 2004, certainly made investors worry that its destruction could deal a lasting blow to the economy—from insurance costs to decreased retail spending and more. But the selloff seemed to highlight broader market fears, as data security and regulatory concerns have recently threatened tech stocks’ prospects, and tariffs imposed by the Trump Administration have raised trade war concerns and already sapped profits of U.S. manufacturers such as Ford. Fortune’s Matt Heimer details even more reasons why the stock market went down today.
As with all stock market crashes, dips and blips, it’s important for investors to maintain perspective: While an 800-point drop looks scary, such declines are becoming more common, because the Dow itself has risen to record highs of nearly 27,000. Today’s drop doesn’t come close to ranking as a market crash or even an official 5% correction. We are not on the verge of a bear market. Even after Wednesday’s bloodbath, the Dow is up 3.6% this year; the S&P 500 is up 4.2%, and the Nasdaq has risen more than 7.5%. The bull market continues.