On The Money: Trump to deliver Oval Office statement on coronavirus | Trump, Dems split on stimulus options | Coronavirus fears throw Wall Street into bear market

On The Money: Trump to deliver Oval Office statement on coronavirus | Trump, Dems split on stimulus options | Coronavirus fears throw Wall Street into bear market
© Greg Nash

Happy Wednesday and welcome back to On The Money, where we're wondering how weird March Madness is going to be this year. I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL--Trump to deliver Oval Office statement on coronavirus, economic plan: President TrumpDonald John TrumpWith VP pick, Biden can't play small ball in a long ball world Coronavirus hits defense contractor jobs Wake up America, your country doesn't value your life MORE will deliver a statement on Wednesday night regarding the coronavirus as the administration mulls how to address the fast-growing health crisis.

Trump tweeted that he would deliver remarks from the Oval Office at 9 p.m. Eastern time.

  • The president told reporters during a meeting with bank executives that the statement would involve both health and economic measures being taken to combat the virus, though he would not specify what they would be.
  • Trump tweeted several times Tuesday afternoon about the coronavirus, saying he is "fully prepared to use the full power of the Federal Government to deal with" the disease.
  • White House aides have been negotiating with lawmakers on legislation to address the economic fallout of the spreading virus, which has rattled markets and sparked concerns among workers who may not have paid sick leave or the ability to work remotely.

The Hill's Brett Samuels tells us more about Trump's planned address and its context.   

 

Trump, Democrats eye different stimulus options: As the number of confirmed cases climb, Trump, administration officials and lawmakers in both parties are offering competing economic stimulus plans to protect workers, small and midsize businesses, and distressed industries from the brunt of a coronavirus slowdown. 

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  • Trump and GOP lawmakers on Tuesday discussed paid leave for people who miss work because of the virus, small-business loans for impacted employers, extending the federal tax filing deadline beyond April 15 and infrastructure spending to generate more jobs, according to lawmakers who attended.
  • They also talked about a financial rescue package for the hard-hit airline and cruise ship industries, as well as putting some pressure on Saudi Arabia to reconsider a ramp-up in oil production that caused oil prices to plummet 24 percent on Monday.
  • Meanwhile, The House is set to vote Thursday on a package including provisions to provide free virus testing, expand unemployment insurance for those affected, extend paid sick leave for workers forced to stay home and subsidize meals for students who might otherwise go hungry due to school closures, boosting pressure on Senate Republicans to follow suit. 

Read more: President Trump's push to cut the payroll tax as part of an effort to revive the economy is facing steep headwinds on Capitol Hill. 

 

Trump huddles with bankers on economic response: Trump huddled with several of the CEOs of the biggest American commercial and investment banks Wednesday, including Michael Corbat of Citigroup, Bryan Moynihan of Bank of America, Charles Scharf of Wells Fargo and David Solomon of Goldman Sachs.

  • Trump called the meeting of top U.S. bankers to explore ways to support small and midsize businesses likely to suffer steep declines in revenue throughout the coronavirus outbreak, according to industry sources.
  • The bankers and industry advocates meeting with Trump on Wednesday highlighted efforts to help customers facing hardships by easing fees, delaying deadlines and offering flexibility with the terms of their accounts and loans.

 

LEADING THE DAY

Stocks plunge as coronavirus fears throw Wall Street into bear market: Stocks plunged on Wednesday as deepening concern about the potential economic toll of the coronavirus outbreak and uncertainty over the prospects for federal stimulus pushed Wall Street into bear market territory.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed with a loss of 1,465 points, falling 5.9 percent. The S&P 500 Index fell 4.9 percent while the Nasdaq Composite fell 4.7 percent. 

Wednesday's losses plunged the Dow to 23,553.22 points, 20 percent below its 52-week high of 29,551.42 set on Feb. 12, the threshold for entering a bear market. The S&P Index has fallen barely under 20 percent from its 52-week high of 3,386.15 points on Feb. 19.

I have more here.

 

Why it matters:

  • Traders consider a bear market to be a likely long-term decline in stock prices, typically driven by a prolonged economic downturn or widespread financial market troubles. While the financial system has shown few signs of stress amid market volatility, the coronavirus outbreak has raised fears of a sharp economic slowdown or recession.
  • The market's steady decline reflects not only economic dangers for the country, but unique political dangers for Trump. The president has long staked the success of his economic agenda on the torrid rise of stock prices under his watch, blaming previous dips and bouts of volatility on the Federal Reserve or trade policy.

 

Deficit hits $624 billion, outpacing 2019: The 2020 federal deficit for the fiscal year spiked to $624 billion through February, surpassing the entire annual deficit of 2016 in just five months.

New data from the Treasury Department showed that the deficit for February alone stood at an astonishing $235 billion, as spending on Social Security, defense, social and health programs outweighed the trickle of tax income from payroll taxes and individual taxes.

The deficit was 15 percent higher than it was at the same point last year. The Hill's Niv Elis breaks it down here.

 

GOOD TO KNOW

 

ODDS AND ENDS

  • The White House on Wednesday asked the tech industry's top players to help the government in the fight against coronavirus, tapping the expertise of companies like Apple, Facebook and Amazon to help beat back falsehoods and use artificial intelligence to glean new insights into the fast-spreading virus. 
  • Dick's Sporting Goods announced Wednesday that it would end the sale of all firearms in another 440 stores, expanding upon a decision made by the company last year.