Brokerage stocks plunge amid market turmoil

US stocks halted after S&P dropped 7%

From left: Realogy's Ryan Schneider, Cushman & Wakefield's Brett White and Newmark Knight Frank's Barry Gosin (Credit: iStock)
From left: Realogy's Ryan Schneider, Cushman & Wakefield's Brett White and Newmark Knight Frank's Barry Gosin (Credit: iStock)

Real estate brokerage stocks plunged Wednesday, after a market selloff prompted U.S. stocks to temporarily suspend trading.

Shares of Realogy Holdings dropped 35 percent to just over $2 per share as of 2:55 p.m., and shares of Newmark were down 36 percent to just roughly $3. Colliers and Cushman & Wakefield were down roughly 22 percent and 34 percent, respectively.

Shortly after 1 p.m., trading halted after the S&P 500 dropped 7 percent, triggering a “circuit breaker” for the fourth time in recent weeks. The Dow Industrial Average was down 7.8 percent at midday trading, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 6.3 percent.

The market has been roiled by uncertainty amid a global coronavirus pandemic that so far has infected 200,000 people in 144 counties.
Monday saw one of the worst days for the stock market in decades, as REITs plunged nearly 18 percent. On Wednesday, REITs were down 12 percent as of midday.

For Realogy, Wednesday’s loss erases many of the gains it made over the past year, as executives focused on cost-cutting and reducing corporate debt. Shares are now trading more than 75 percent below last year’s price of $11.80.

On the residential front, shares of RE/MAX were down 30 percent, and Vector Group, the parent company of Douglas Elliman, was down 10.50 percent.

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Among commercial firms, JLL was down roughly 17 percent and Marcus & Millichap was down 12 percent.

To bolster the economy, the Treasury Department asked Congress to temporarily backstop money markets as lawmakers work to pass a broader fiscal stimulus package. Last week, the Federal Reserve cut the interest rate to near zero.

Hedge funder Bill Ackman called on President Donald Trump on Wednesday to “shut down” the country for 30 days to stop the spread of COVID-19 and rescue the economy. “We need to shut it down now,” he said on CNBC’s “Halftime Report.”

Over the past few days, infections have climbed in the U.S., prompting cities to shut down restaurants and bars, and limit social interactions.

At a White House press conference Wednesday, Trump said his administration would invoke the Defense Production Act to increase supplies of equipment. Following in the footsteps of San Francisco, New Yorkers face the possibility of “sheltering in place,” and the U.S. and Canada closed their shared border.

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