Focus shifts away from Hawaii banks as stock crisis goes global

The Dow falls over 600 points; Howard Dicus explains how a questionable Swiss bank is now fueling global banking fears.
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 12:44 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 15, 2023 at 1:27 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A fresh bank crisis far away from Hawaii triggered a global stock selloff, but this crisis was settled in hours and markets closed lower to more moderate degrees.

Bank of Hawaii stock fell another 6% and First Hawaiian fell 1%, but Central Pacific Financial rose 1%. Traders figured out that Hawaii banks were well cushioned, diversified, and disinclined to mess around with crypto.

The Dow fell over 700 points as European stock markets lost 3% of their value after Reuters news service reported the Saudi National Bank had been approached for a second cash infusion to the Swiss megabank Credit Suisse and said no. The Swiss government promised to supply the cash and the crisis was over.

Wall Street falls on new bank fears, bond yields plunge

The bank selloff spread for awhile to U.S. megabanks: Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs all fell 5% at one point. Bank of America fell 2%. Part of what’s going on is investors shifting cash to Treasury notes, which can be motivated less by the health of the banking industry than by the returns that Treasuries provide.

Hawaii is more stable than most local banking markets, with banking dominated by local institutions to a degree that is unique in the United States.

The stock selloff hit the travel industry. NCL fell 3%. Marriott and Hilton each fell over 2%.

Also in the news background: the retail sales report, revising January up to a 3.2% increase, and posting a small 0.4% decline for February — and only 0.1% after dialing out slumping car sales. The slower sales, which could reduce prices, might fight inflation better than any interest rate increase, further complicating the business of reading tea leaves to guess what the Fed will do next week.

Local refiner Par Pacific saw shares fall 5% as benchmark crude fell to its lowest price since last summer.