Coronavirus, Stock Markets, Primary Elections: Your Tuesday Briefing

Coronavirus, Stock Markets, Primary Elections: Your Tuesday Briefing

(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the , a reporter on the Business desk. Below is a condensed version of the conversation.

Walk us through last week. What happened?

Everyone knew the virus was spreading in China and compartmentalized it. But there was a psychological shift when the virus spread to Italy. A lot of Wall Street workers have been to Italy. This wasn’t as “foreign” as people thought.

Then there was growing concern about the response from our government. Wall Street isn’t warm and fuzzy. What they really want to see is numbers. And if there aren’t numbers to work with, then Wall Street doesn’t know what to do. That there hasn’t been substantial testing in the United States drove the Street crazy.

Did the stock market events of last week surprise you?

I never would have predicted a collapse like we saw last week. This was the end of the bull market, in part because the Federal Reserve, which has been a huge wind at the market’s back for a decade, can’t solve it: It can’t print enough money to ensure that people don’t get infected.

How have your sources been reacting?

They’re saying it’s scary. People in the stock market typically talk in generalities because specifics are valuable. My job is like trying to take their temperature on what they think is driving the market, but no one really has any idea. It’s really the sum of millions of people with millions of motivations taking millions of positions, so there is never one answer.


That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Chris


Thank you
Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about the coronavirus in Italy.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Copper + zinc (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Elaine Glusac, a longtime contributor to The Times’s Travel section, is our next Frugal Traveler columnist.

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