(Bloomberg) — U.S. equity futures slumped with stocks globally on Thursday as fears of a second wave of the virus and a cautious outlook from the Federal Reserve clouded hopes for a speedy economic recovery.
Contracts on the S&P 500 Index fell by the most in a month after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell suggested the pandemic could inflict long-lasting damage on the economy. Reports of coronavirus infection rates jumping in parts of America added to the risk-off mood, with cruise operators and airlines slumping in pre-market trading. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index sank by the most since April, with sectors scooped up in the recent rally such as banks and travel leading declines.
Treasuries continued higher alongside German bunds on haven demand, while the dollar rebounded strongly from Wednesday’s losses and held its gains after U.S. weekly jobless claims almost matched forecasts.
“This is the first time we’ve had a little bit of negative news flow recently” on developments in the coronavirus, Dean Turner, economist at UBS Global Wealth Management, told Bloomberg TV. “Put that in the context of how far markets have come in the last few weeks, it’s not at all surprising that we get a little bit of profit-taking at this stage.”
Stocks are catching their breath after a strong rally from March lows as investors weigh a rocky road to economic recovery against promised stimulus measures. U.S. virus cases now top 2 million, with fears of a second wave in Texas and Florida. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the U.S. “definitely” needs more fiscal stimulus, supporting prospects for another round this summer. European policy makers meet Thursday to decide whether to boost aid.
Investors are also digesting the Fed’s decision to leave its policy settings unchanged while pledging to keep buying bonds. Powell said the central bank had a briefing on yield-curve control, amid expectations from some economists that the central bank will follow Australia’s and Japan’s in adopting such a tool.
Elsewhere, Japanese and Australia benchmarks led a broad decline among Asia equity markets. Crude oil declined while gold held onto most of Wednesday’s gain.
These are some of the main moves in markets:
Futures on the S&P 500 Index sank 2.5% as of 8:32 a.m. New York time.The Stoxx Europe 600 Index sank 2.8%.The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 1.9%.The MSCI Emerging Market Index declined 1.3%.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index jumped 0.7%.The euro declined 0.3% to $1.134.The British pound dipped 0.8% to $1.2647.The onshore yuan weakened 0.1% to 7.071 per dollar.The Japanese yen was little changed at 107.07 per dollar.
The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined four basis points to 0.69%.The yield on two-year Treasuries climbed one basis point to 0.17%.Germany’s 10-year yield decreased seven basis points to -0.40%.Britain’s 10-year yield fell five basis points to 0.218%.Japan’s 10-year yield dipped one basis point to 0.011%.
West Texas Intermediate crude sank 6.9% to $36.88 a barrel.Brent crude sank 5.8% to $39.33 a barrel.Gold weakened 0.6% to $1,728.22 an ounce.
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