Perfect storm sends Dow plummeting

CNN's Clare Sebastian says a perfect storm of factors sent the Dow plummeting 1100 points, but cautioned that a market correction was long overdue following an unprecedented period of growth.

Posted: Feb 6, 2018 4:43 PM
Updated: Feb 6, 2018 4:44 PM

For a connoisseur of cable news like Donald Trump, it was not a pretty picture.

As the President touted his economic agenda in Ohio on Monday, his face stared out of millions of television screens next to blaring red graphics and yellow numbers whirling like the reels on a slot machine, telling the story of a full-bore stock market plunge.

For any president, the split screen moment showing an apparent disconnect between his message of a roaring economy and hemorrhaging equities would be a little embarrassing.

But for Trump, who has constantly boasted about almost daily record highs on Wall Street since his election and told Americans that he alone is responsible for their healthy 401(k) balances, the mismatch was even more pronounced.

Even the President's favorite news source, Fox News, was the bearer of bad tidings for Trump, with a banner reading "DOW, S&P turn negative for the year."

One White House aide told CNN's Jeff Zeleny that it was jarring to see Fox ditch the President's speech when the market free-fall hit 1,000 points.

As Trump slammed Democrats in Blue Ash, Ohio, and celebrated robust job creation along with rising wages, the Dow Jones Industrial Average tanked 1,600 points at one point, before recovering on a volatile day to a record loss of a 1,175 point tumble, or 4.6%.

The Dow was already coming off its worst week in two years, taking the 401(k) retirement plans of millions of Americans down with it, after an era when most small scale investors have only known constantly rising balances.

Touted 84 Dow records

One irony of Monday afternoon was the fact that the President was trapped in his own story as the market slumped, oblivious to what was happening and powerless to shape the moment with his shrewd reality show star's eye, as he often does.

As the market tanked, Trump was hitting Democrats for not applauding during his State of the Union speech last week, even suggesting it was "treasonous."

"They were like death and un-American. Un-American. Somebody said, 'Treasonous.' I mean, Yeah, I guess, why not," the President said.

The speech, the first hints of his midterm election message and coming during the stock market slump, was a reminder of the way that the economy, so central to the Republican fate after the huge tax cut bill, is a fickle base on which to build a re-election message, especially at a moment that could turn out to be the end of the economic recovery cycle after the Great Recession.

Trump's past boasts about a Trump bump in stocks may come back to haunt him.

In December, at a firehouse in Florida, Trump took personal credit for the bull run, as if he had repeatedly steered the Dow through a year of smashed record highs.

"We broke it 84 times this year. The stock market hit a new high 84 times since we won the election on November 8 of last year, so that's something we can all be proud of," Trump said, before boasting at the impact on 401(k)s.

"That makes you all look very smart and your families say, 'Boy, are you a great investor,' right, when you have your numbers go up and your stocks go up and everything else," he said.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos last month, Trump gloated about booming stock markets and argued that if Hillary Clinton had won the election, then the market would have lost half of its value.

"I believe the stock market from that level, the initial level, would have been down close to 50 percent," he said.

On Monday, faced with a tricky political conundrum, the White House argued that the losses of the day were dwarfed by the expansion in stock values on Trump's watch.

"It's overall in a very strong place and its exorbitantly higher than it was when he took office," White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley told CNN's Anderson Cooper.

"Even when there is one day of fluctuation, it is still in a really good place," Gidley said, adding that the overall economy remained very strong.

Reasons for White House to be nervous

Trump supporters also point out that the market sell-off may be a function of the improving economy, since investors are nervous that rising wages could spark inflation and a decision by the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates.

Still, there are reasons to be nervous. Though Trump's approval ratings have improved, to the low 40% range in some recent polls, he remains in a position that historically has been perilous for presidents in midterm polls.

It's always possible stocks could go back on a tear in the weeks to come. And if there is a correction in the market, it may benefit Trump and the Republicans for it to happen now and not closer to November.

But if interest rates do spike and impact consumer confidence in a way that leads to a slowing economy, there could be a significant political impact at a time when Republicans are trying to cling onto the House and the Senate.

And since markets usually price good news in, much of the impact of the GOP's tax reform bill was probably included in the giddy highs in the market late last year -- meaning that the political benefit of the tax reform law, on stock prices at least, may come too early to affect the midterms.

Ironically though, one of the contradictions of Trump's cheerleading about stocks could help him now. Since stocks tend to attract the wealthiest of Americans, highlighting rampaging stock values always seemed an odd way for him to connect to the "forgotten men and women," who helped put him in the White House.

Now, the White House might benefit from the limited exposure of Trump supporters to wildly swinging stock market values.

But considering Trump's personal political liabilities, and his decision not to reach out to many voters outside his Republican base, GOP hopes in November are still even more closely tied to the economy than in any other year.

That means that the GOP is going to experience plenty of nervous moments in the months to come, since political fortunes linked directly to a volatile economy can go up as well as down.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1084488

Reported Deaths: 17386
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1425562217
Lake705171220
Allen64347862
Hamilton49481481
St. Joseph48135639
Elkhart39011536
Vanderburgh33874494
Tippecanoe29863271
Johnson26876463
Hendricks25548379
Porter24683380
Madison20440444
Clark19785275
Vigo18609308
LaPorte16638260
Monroe16237217
Delaware16230286
Howard16181310
Kosciusko13763162
Hancock12644184
Bartholomew12544188
Warrick11889189
Wayne11794264
Floyd11792225
Grant11484233
Morgan10134188
Boone9576120
Noble8921121
Henry8917163
Marshall8792146
Dearborn875798
Dubois8673138
Shelby7958127
Cass7907126
Lawrence7861182
DeKalb7416106
Jackson738093
Huntington7280107
Gibson6922118
Montgomery6830122
Harrison680696
Knox6779113
Steuben641185
Miami6384106
Whitley631160
Putnam626582
Clinton614176
Wabash5958108
Jasper591991
Jefferson5617102
Ripley540892
Adams527881
Daviess4964116
Scott475978
Wells462998
White459967
Greene458399
Clay452162
Decatur4491109
Jennings434666
Fayette429094
LaGrange413890
Posey398344
Washington380654
Randolph3770107
Fountain364962
Spencer353446
Fulton352270
Starke343672
Sullivan342454
Owen341676
Orange320270
Jay315450
Rush293332
Carroll287037
Franklin283544
Perry281453
Vermillion277557
Parke244930
Tipton244664
Pike241744
Blackford213944
Pulaski203158
Newton176552
Brown169850
Crawford167129
Benton160517
Martin149219
Switzerland143712
Warren131416
Union115416
Ohio90513
Unassigned0581

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1673496

Reported Deaths: 26483
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1757641826
Cuyahoga1629012636
Hamilton1118741528
Montgomery791421387
Summit697231199
Lucas615331017
Butler55597803
Stark521611170
Lorain40661639
Warren35239412
Mahoning34821769
Lake31171493
Clermont30541362
Delaware26553182
Trumbull26366611
Licking26095335
Medina25072351
Fairfield24063287
Greene23957369
Clark21542387
Portage20538280
Richland20465336
Wood19524246
Allen18427320
Miami16950348
Columbiana16385331
Muskingum16346206
Wayne15351304
Tuscarawas14018357
Marion12978194
Erie12350198
Ashtabula12171225
Scioto12166182
Pickaway12009151
Ross11417223
Hancock11151173
Geauga10572174
Lawrence10433171
Belmont10200231
Huron9545155
Jefferson9425225
Union933375
Sandusky8981166
Seneca8639156
Knox8591169
Washington8578156
Athens825096
Darke8215179
Ashland7777147
Auglaize7695115
Shelby7302132
Defiance7174114
Brown7015115
Crawford7010150
Fulton6953111
Logan6818108
Mercer679397
Guernsey677983
Highland6591117
Madison639289
Clinton6361106
Williams623498
Preble6153139
Putnam6054120
Jackson569496
Champaign564786
Perry557179
Coshocton5525103
Ottawa549599
Morrow504464
Fayette481270
Hardin475399
Gallia460278
Pike457876
Van Wert451591
Adams4495109
Henry422776
Hocking398093
Holmes3917137
Wyandot366673
Carroll348978
Paulding317449
Meigs300957
Monroe230860
Noble216147
Morgan208938
Harrison204052
Vinton182037
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
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Hi: 38° Lo: 34°
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Cloudy
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Hi: 38° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 24°
Decatur
Mostly Cloudy
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Hi: 38° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 25°
Van Wert
Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 26°
The chilly temperatures and clouds are sticking around Monday with a brief warm up midweek.
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