The Latest: Market swings may accelerate rebalancing needs

Business
Jerome Powell

FILE – In this Tuesday, March 3, 2020 file photo, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell pauses during a news conference to discuss an announcement from the Federal Open Market Committee, in Washington. In a series of sweeping steps, the U.S. Federal Reserve will lend to small and large businesses and local governments as well as extend its bond buying programs. The announcement Monday, March 23 is part of the Fed’s ongoing efforts to support the flow of credit through an economy ravaged by the viral outbreak. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

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NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the action in the financial markets (all times local):

3:35 p.m.

Investors usually have to rebalance their mix of stocks, bonds and cash periodically to ensure their portfolio remains aligned with their goals.

But the turbulent swings in global markets the past few weeks have likely knocked many stock portfolios off course, making it necessary for investors to make changes, say analysts at BlackRock Investment Institute.

The combination of sharp drops in stock prices and the steep decline in U.S. government bond yields as anxious investors sought less-risky assets to park their money have likely resulted in portfolios moving off their strategic benchmarks.

For example, a portfolio put together to maintain a weighting of 60% stocks and 40% bonds would have been shifted by the market’s downturn the past month, reducing the allocation of stocks to just over 50%, BlackRock concludes.

“This one-month drift has been sharper than that seen during the 2008 crisis,” the analysts wrote in a report Monday.

While this suggests the need to buy more stocks and selling bonds to rebalance the portfolio back to its initial benchmark, the analysts say it’s still too soon to go “overweight” on stocks, given the uncertainty of the trajectory of the coronavirus.

Still, they suggest it may be prudent to start “leaning against” the moves in the market through some rebalancing.

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1:40 p.m.

Like many Americans, stock traders who normally crowd the floor of the New York Stock Exchange are having to adjust to working from home.

The NYSE temporarily closed its trading floor in lower Mahattan Monday and shifted to all-electronic trading as a precautionary step after two people tested positive for COVID-19.

“For today, I’m sitting here still watching the market, still conveying my opinion to customers,” says Peter Tuchman, a floor trader at the NYSE for Quattro Securities. “Things are sort of seamless, as far a speed and execution go.”

Homebound traders can do everything they can do at the NYSE except for broker-to-broker trades, says Jonathan D. Corpina, senior managing partner at Meridian Equity Partners.

“There’s no workaround for that at this point,” says Corpina, who was working from his home office. He says most NYSE traders are also working from home.

One notable difference from working at the NYSE: Corpina doesn’t have to comply with the exchange’s requirement that traders don a jacket and tie.

“I don’t need to wear it,” he says, referring to the jacket. “But it’s propped up on the back of my chair here.”

Several thousand brokers and others used to crowd the trading floor of the NYSE as recently as the 1990s. But in the years since, the rise of electronic trading grew to dominate the action on Wall Street. These days, there are about 500 floor traders at the NYSE.

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Noon

Boeing is suspending operations at its Seattle area facilities due to the spread of coronavirus in the area, where dozens of people have been killed.

Operations would be reduced beginning Wednesday, the company said in a statement, and production would be suspended for a two weeks.

“This necessary step protects our employees and the communities where they work and live,” said Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun.

The aerospace ginat employs more than 60,000 people in Washington state.

Boeing’s stock rose 8% to $102.71. The stock has fallen 69% this month as airlines make deep cuts to their flights due to widening travel bans and plummeting demand for air travel because of the cornonavirus outbreak. That has led investors to anticipate lower demand for new planes.

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9:00 a.m.

U.S. stock futures are making a dramatic swing higher after the Federal Reserve announced it will lend to small and large businesses and local governments as well as extend its bond buying programs.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down about 500 points before the Fed announced its actions. The Dow futures swung nearly 1,000 points and as of 8:30 a.m. were up 422 points. Futures for the S&P 500 showed a gain of 50 points.

The announcement Monday is part of the Fed’s ongoing efforts to support the flow of credit through an economy ravaged by the viral outbreak.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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