'Hell is coming': Billionaire Bill Ackman sent the stock market spiraling during a 28-minute interview filled with dire coronavirus warnings
· Bill Ackman warned on Wednesday of mass casualties, collapsing industries, and a deep recession if the US government doesn't impose a nationwide shutdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
· The billionaire hedge-fund manager's emotional half-hour CNBC interview pushed an already vulnerable stock market toward intraday lows.
· Ackman also revealed that he was buying shares, sparking accusations that he was manipulating the market to drive stock prices down or profit from short bets.
· We've compiled a list of the Pershing Square Capital chief's most striking comments below.
Theron Mohamed, Business Insider
Mar. 19, 2020
The billionaire hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman predicted on Wednesday that millions of Americans would die, industries would collapse, and the US economy would tumble into a deep recession unless there's a 30-day nationwide shutdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The Pershing Square Capital chief's dire warnings in an emotional half-hour CNBC interview pushed a vulnerable stock market to intraday lows.
The Dow Jones industrial average — already down more than 1,000 points when Ackman came on air — quickly hit a circuit breaker that halted trading for 15 minutes after S&P 500 losses reached 7%. The Dow reopened more than 2,000 points down, according to Forbes.
Ackman revealed during the interview that he was buying shares in Hilton, Starbucks, and Restaurant Brands International, which owns Burger King. The disconnect between his grave predictions and his stock purchases sparked accusations that he was trying to scare investors into selling so he could buy at a discount or profit from short bets. Market commentators also accused him of fearmongering and argued that a monthlong break wasn't feasible.
The backlash led Ackman to clarify his position in a tweet: "I am confident the president will do the right thing in temporarily shutting down the country and closing the borders.
"If that happens, we can win the war against the virus and the markets and the economy will soar," he added.
Here's a roundup of Ackman's most striking comments from his CNBC interview: