Market crash
  • US stocks fell sharply on Wednesday after American President Donald Trump told the country to brace for a "very, very painful two weeks" amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The White House projected that the US could see 100,000 to 240,000 deaths from Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.
  • The losses came on the heels of the worst-ever first quarter for the Dow Jones industrial average.
  • Read more on Business Insider South Africa.

US stocks fell sharply on Wednesday after American President Donald Trump issued a dire new warning about pain ahead due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump told Americans to brace for a "very, very painful two weeks" during a press briefing, adding "this is going to be three weeks like we've never seen before."

The White House is now projecting that the US could see between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic, peaking over the next two weeks. Right now, the US has 189,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, currently the largest outbreak in the world. As of April 1, 4,000 have died of coronavirus in the US.

Major market indexes in the US were down around 4.4% each by market close on Wednesday.

Investor sentiment is falling as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic is "maybe starting to hit home for people that had been hoping for better news," Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab, told Markets Insider in an interview.

The losses came after the Dow Jones industrial average posted its worst-ever quarterly performance on Tuesday, slipping more than 23%. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 also posted their worst monthly returns since the depth of the financial crisis in October 2008, falling 14% and 13% in March.

Oil climbed on Wednesday after capping offer its worst quarter ever. The resource fell 66% in the first three months of 2020. The declines have been driven by the dual impact of a coronavirus-driven drop in demand and an escalating price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

In economic news, the US Institute for Supply Management's March manufacturing survey released Wednesday came in higher than expected, dipping to only 49.1 from 50.1 in February. But part of what lifted the number was a jump in supplier deliveries, aided by the coronavirus pandemic.

"It gave a boost to the overall number not for the right reasons," Sonders said.

Elsewhere, US private-sector businesses cut 27,000 jobs in the month ending March 12, according to a Wednesday report from ADP. It was the first time since 2017 the report had shown job losses, signalling that coronavirus-induced layoffs began before state lockdowns and widespread social-distancing measures increased in mid-to-late March.

Some experts see more pain ahead. On Tuesday, bond king Jeffrey Gundlach told investors that the market will fall even further in April, extending the coronavirus-driven rout.

"With a global recession now being the overarching theme for the year, investors are expected to endure a bumpy ride before they can place firm hopes on the eventual recovery," Han Tan, market analyst at FXTM, told Business Insider.

Investors will also be watching for jobless claims data Thursday, and the March jobs report Friday for further clues of economic fallout. Economists are expecting that Thursday's jobless claims report will show another record spike in unemployment filings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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