NC State economist says don’t panic as stock market falls during coronavirus outbreak

National News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — It was a horrible day at the stock market as the Dow closed down more than 2,000 points marking the worst fall since 2008.

Many people are now wondering if the United States could be headed for another recession.

While coronavirus has certainly played a part in the drop there are a number of factors that we could soon start to feel in the Triangle.

“Stock traders are worried,” said North Carolina State University economist Mike Walden. “The stock market is very worried. Why they have these triggers is because emotions can take over. The stock markets are reacting to this plunge in oil prices as a big negative for the world economy.”

Locally the plunge has already had an impact on gas prices that many consumers are noticing, and Walden says that’s not necessarily a good thing.

“For your personal pocketbook it is, but generally speaking when oil prices go down because of a lack of buying which is really what’s happening in Asia,” said Walden. “That’s a sign the economy is in trouble.”

SmartAsset recently ranked the Triangle as one of the most recession-proof metropolitan areas in the country, but that doesn’t mean the impacts of a downturn wouldn’t be felt locally.

“You could start to see, even in this very strong economy in Raleigh and North Carolina, some layoffs,” said Walden. “We could start to see people have their hours cut back. Those are symptoms that go along with a recession.”

As we wait on the market to stabilize Walden says there is some good news.

“Most professional traders think there is a floor out there,” said Walden.

In the meantime, Walden says you shouldn’t panic.

“It’s going to be a daily thing,” said Walden. “We will access the information on the coronavirus. We see what’s happening now in the oil markets. On days when it’s not good, we could see declines in the stock market.”

Walden says in the past the government has stepped in to try and stabilize the markets, but with interest rates near all-time lows, there’s not much they can do.

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