Global markets soar after the Senate and White House reach a mammoth stimulus deal

March 25, 2020, 10:26 AM UTC

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Good morning. The rally is on. And you can thank your senators for that.

Here’s what’s moving markets.

Markets update

Asia took off on the news that Senate and White House had agreed to a $2 trillion relief bill after midnight in Washington, D.C. The benchmark MSCI Asia Pacific Index is up nearly 5% on Wednesday, its best day since 2008.

Europe too got a lift from the news at the open. Germany’s DAX is now up 15% since the March 18 low. A further boost could come once Euro area finance ministers agree to a coronavirus recovery bill of their own. That’s as Italy and Spain reported new surges in COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours.


The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq are all set to open higher again this morning now that there’s some semblance of an agreement in place. The Dow’s 11.3% gain yesterday equated to the best trading session for bluechips since the FDR Administration, way back in 1933. Along the way, we passed Dow 20,000!

Yesterday’s big winners were those that stand to gain the most from a multi-trillion-dollar aid deal. The battered cruise industry and airlines both took off as a deal inched closer. Norwegian Cruise Lines climbed more than 40%, the best performer on the S&P 500 yesterday. American Airlines took off nearly 30% while DeltaUnited Airlines and Boeing soared more than 20%.


The deal in D.C. has pushed the dollar lower and has sent Brent crude slightly higher. From commodities to FX to Treasurys, we’re not seeing the huge swings of a week ago, a sign that volatility is improving.


Details of the U.S. aid package are still trickling in, but it appears to have most of the goodies that both Republicans and Democrats wanted. There’s likely to be billions for hospitals and airlines, plus aid for those out of work. Adults could get direct payments of $1,200, and $500 for children. The Democrats won a key stipulation: any company that draws on government-backed loans to stabilize its business will be barred from buying back shares.

Here’s how it compares in magnitude to some of other packages that have been proposed (or passed) around the world.


How big is your bazooka?

“Whatever it takes” doesn’t come cheap. The second biggest package noted here is the German measure, which comes out to 750 billion euros ($810 billion).

It should be noted, the chart above hardly captures the entirety of what the world’s biggest economies will spend to jumpstart a completely shuttered global economy. Central banks are buying sovereign and corporate debt at a historic clip and governments are pondering aid packages to keep businesses from going under and to keep individuals in their homes.

Thus far, more than $4 trillion has been committed in the hopes of keeping the global economy from sinking into another depression.

How we will pay for all of this is a question for another day.


My neighbors and I may be barred from entering city parks, but that doesn’t mean these urban green spaces are empty. There’s been a surge in wildlife spotted in recent weeks in the leafier urban fringes of lockdown Italy. Hares have returned to Milan’s parks. Fish are teeming in Venice’s suddenly pristine waters. And I’ve seen majestic birds of prey sweeping across the sky near my apartment; we’re just a few hundred meters from the Tiber.

I’m particularly curious to see research and news stories in the coming months looking into the environmental impact of this historic economic shutdown. My colleague Katherine Dunn yesterday dove into the climate impact on London. The decline in air pollution, she reports, “was ‘much more significant’ than the trend for the previous three years.”

If you’re allowed to venture outside, take a deep breath. The price of clean air = priceless.

Bernhard Warner

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Today's reads

Time to buy? All downturns yield fresh opportunities to invest, or re-invest. If you believe that, and you have the spare cash, there's no time like the present to get back into the market. That's because stocks are nearing "fair value" as defined by the Shiller price/earnings ratio, Fortune's Shawn Tully explains.

Mutual funds relief. With the markets in freefall in recent weeks, investors have been pulling out billions from various funds, putting the squeeze on the $19 trillion mutual-fund industry. In response, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced a new set of tools to help mutual funds meet the surge in redemptions, the Wall Street Journal reports

Fallen angels. Delta Air Lines is the latest American giant to get downgraded into "junk" territory—the beleaguered airline has had to borrow billions in recent weeks with business travel grinds to a halt. As Rey Mashayekhi reports in Fortune, "the airlines are not alone in their current credit squeeze. S&P has already attributed more than 100 credit rating downgrades to the coronavirus, with industries like real estate and energy also falling victim."

Market candy

Quote of the day

“One of the things to be careful about is thinking this will be the panacea, or that this fiscal response will be sufficient.”

That's the warning from Eric Freedman, chief investment officer at U.S. Bank Wealth Management yesterday after the U.S. markets soared on hopes—later realized—of a whopper of a coronavirus stimulus package coming out of Washington. We won't have to wait very long to see how his words pan out.

Read More

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