Fears about the rapidly spreading coronavirus and its impact on the global economy, which deepened on Monday with the collapse of oil prices, have evaporated over $5 trillion of the S&P 500’s market value in recent weeks.
The U.S. stock benchmark’s 7% drop on Monday, which triggered a temporary trading halt in its biggest one-day decline since 2011, came after Saudi Arabia and Russia began a price war that threatens to overwhelm global oil markets with supply, causing crude prices to tumble 20% in their deepest daily rout since the 1991 Gulf War.
That price war broke out after major oil producing countries failed to reach an agreement to cut output to make up for lower demand related to the coronavirus.
“It’s a perfect storm. You’ve got a lot of uncertainty in terms of how far the virus will spread in the U.S. You layer onto this the oil price cut. The third thing is financial instability, in the sense that with yields falling as far and as fast as they’re falling, said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at Independent Advisors Alliance.
On the New York Stock Exchange, the number of shares hitting 52-week lows reached more than 3,500 on Monday, the biggest number of new lows since 2008.
Since hitting a record high on S&P 500, the index has lost over $5 trillion in value. The S&P 500’s largest 10 companies by market capitalization have seen their combined values drop by more than $1.4 trillion.
About $250 billion has been erased from the stock market value of Microsoft since Feb. 19, more than any other U.S. company. Apple and Alphabet have seen their values shrink by over $200 billion each, while Amazon has lost $170 billion in market capitalization.
The S&P 500 energy index on Monday plunged 18.2% to its lowest level since August 2004 as investors reacted to the slump in oil prices.
That left the energy index down nearly 50% from its 52-week high, far worse than any other sector. With the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury declining to another record low on Monday, the S&P 500 financials index tumbled 11%, leaving it down 27% from its record high last month.
“The lower oil price is going to decimate oil stocks, the oil industry, the shale producers, and the record low interest rates are going to decimate the banks. Those are the stocks posting the biggest declines today,” said Donald Selkin, chief marketing strategist at Newbridge Securities in New York.
Wall Street’s meltdown has also hurt shares of companies that made highly anticipated debuts on Wall Street last year, adding to losses for companies including Peloton Interactive and Uber Technologies , while cutting into the gains of investor favorites including Beyond Meat.