Stock Market Today: Silicon Valley Bank Failure Sinks Stocks

The largest bank failure since the 2008 financial crisis stole the spotlight from the February jobs report.

SVB sign for Silicon Valley Bank
(Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Stocks spent the early part of Friday morning chopping between positive and negative territory as investors dissected the February jobs report. However, chaos erupted on Wall Street after regulators shut down Silicon Valley Bank, a regional financial firm that services many of the largest tech companies. What resulted were big losses for the major indexes and substantial slides for a number of bank stocks. 

Wall Street had been waiting for the February jobs report with bated breath. It was just earlier this week that Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warned the central bank is prepared to issue more rate hikes if economic data continues to come in strong. Data released earlier underscored a resilient labor market, with the U.S. adding a much higher-than-expected 311,000 new jobs last month. However, the report wasn't all that bad, with the unemployment rate edging up to 3.6% from 3.4% in January, and the pace of wage growth slowing – good news on the inflation front.

"From an equity market standpoint, the jobs report was mixed but on balance probably better than feared. The headline jobs number was strong but importantly hourly earnings were contained," says Matt Peron, director of research at Janus Henderson Investors, adding that this should provide some relief that "extremely high rates might not come to pass." Still, the analyst remains cautious, "as the impact of rates is just starting to appear in the broader economy and inflation is still too high for the Fed's comfort level."

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The day's mood quickly shifted on news that Silicon Valley Bank had collapsed, marking the largest bank failure since the 2008 financial crisis. Shares of SVB Financial Group (SIVB) – which owns Silicon Valley Bank – slumped more than 60% Thursday amid serious debt concerns, and were halted earlier today.

"The story began when insiders were advising clients to pull their money out, and as is often the case when financial institutions start to falter, people shot first and asked questions later," says Louis Navellier, chairman and founder of Navellier & Associates. "Why should this matter? Because fears are high that problems there may spread to other regional banks."

Indeed, bank stocks were some of the biggest losers on Wall Street today. Among those notching notable losses were Silvergate Capital (SI, -10.6%), Signature Bank (SBNY, -22.9%) and First Republic (FRC, -14.8%). 

As for the major indexes, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.1% to 31,909, the S&P 500 slumped 1.5% to 3,861, and the Nasdaq Composite shed 1.8% to 11,138.

Biden's budget and investors

We focus on investing in this space, but sometimes it's just as important to be mindful of other financial topics, like taxes. Take President Joe Biden's budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which the White House says will reduce the deficit by roughly $3 trillion over 10 years. Among the proposals is a near-doubling of the capital gains tax rate. Additionally, the president's budget includes a "wealth tax" on the country's richest people. 

"If Biden's tax plan were enacted, there would be noticeable investor implications," says Pratik Patel, managing director and head of family wealth strategies, BMO Family Office. However, Patel reminds investors that "Biden's budget and tax plan is a wish list, especially with a divided Congress. It's important for investors to take a wait and see approach before making any drastic investment decisions driven by fears of higher taxes in the future."

Karee Venema
Contributing Editor,

With over a decade of experience writing about the stock market, Karee Venema is an investing editor and options expert at She joined the publication in April 2021 after 10 years of working as an investing writer and columnist at Schaeffer's Investment Research. In her previous role, Karee focused primarily on options trading, as well as technical, fundamental and sentiment analysis.