The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the day down by just under 450 points Wednesday, after weak manufacturing reports added to the list of grim economic data, including a record decline in monthly retail sales and ugly quarterly earnings from some of the country’s largest banks.
The S&P 500 fell by just over 2 percent and the Nasdaq ended the day down by about 1.5 percent.
The government's monthly retail sales report showed sales were down a record 8.7 percent for the month of March, with a 50.5 percent decline in clothing sales and a 26.5 percent drop in sales at restaurants and bars. Customers stocking up on essentials pushed up the numbers for food and beverage, with a 25.6 percent increase.
A manufacturing index for New York state sank to a level below even that of the Great Recession, with a reading of -78.2, far below economist forecasts of -32.5.
Bank earnings continues to weigh on markets, with Bank of America reporting a decline in profits of 45 percent for the first quarter. Stocks fell by around 6 percent. JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo also released ugly quarterly earnings this week, as banks put aside billions of dollars as provisions for bad loans.
Airline shares were up Wednesday, after 10 of the country's largest airlines, including American, Delta and United, are to receive a slice of the $25 billion Payroll Support Program, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced Tuesday.
Reuters also reported that many of those airlines also intend to apply for a separate $25 billion loan program since "the terms of the separate government loan package may be significantly better than those available in capital markets."
President Donald Trump continues to move ahead with plans to reopen the economy, announcing at a coronavirus task force briefing on Tuesday he would be speaking to "all 50 governors very shortly" in order to discuss "a very powerful reopening plan of their state at a time and in a manner as most appropriate."
"It's going to be very, very close, maybe even before the date of May 1," Trump said.
The oil market continues to pull on investor confidence, with crude falling below $20 a barrel after the International Energy Agency predicted a record plunge in demand for 2020. The historic OPEC+ production agreement touted by Trump does not take effect until May 1, which has left room for oil-producing countries to pump at their own levels in the intervening period, adding to the supply glut.