U.S. stock futures slid sharply on Friday, a day after major benchmarks pushed into correction territory, as investor fears heightened over just how much damage the fast-spreading coronavirus will wreak on the global economy.
How are major benchmarks trading?
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures
slid nearly 500 points, or 1.8%, while S&P 500 futures
dropped 1.7% to 2,907 and Nasdaq-100 futures
fell nearly 2% to 8,229.
On Thursday, the Dow industrials
lost 1,190.90 points, or 4.4%, to close below 26,000 at 25,766.60, while the S&P 500
slid 137.63 points, or 4.4%, to end at 2,978.76. The Nasdaq Composite
slumped 414.29 points, or 4.6%, finishing at 8,566.48.
All three benchmarks closed in correction territory, defined as a decline of at least 10%, but no more than 20%, from a recent peak. For the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, it marked the worst daily percentage drop since Aug. 18, 2011, but the steepest since Feb. 5, 2018 for the Dow.
The Dow is now down 9.71% for the year, while the S&P 500 is off 7.80% year-to-date, and the Nasdaq has lost 4.53%.
What’s driving the market?
Investors have endured days of increasingly grim updates on fallout from the coronavirus, as new infections continue to rise even as countries enact stronger and stronger measures. New Zealand and Nigeria were among the latest countries to report their cases.
Asian markets took up the grim baton from Wall Street on Friday, with the Nikkei 225 index
finishing down nearly 3.7%, as Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asked schools to close for a month and Tokyo Disney Resort operator Oriental Land Co.
said it would close its theme parks for two weeks. The Stoxx Europe 600
pushed further into correction territory, sinking 4.6%.
The outbreak has the potential to become a pandemic and is at a decisive stage, the head of the World Health Organization said on Thursday. The latest slide began late on Wednesday as investors dismissed reassurances by President Donald Trump. Sentiment took another dive Thursday after California’s governor said 8,400 people were being monitored after traveling to China.
“This crisis has escalated to the point where the risk to the global consumer is the real problem. Starbucks and Apple can reopen their stores in China, but few people will go into them,” Michael O’Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading, told clients in a note.
“People are no longer worried about buying a house or a car, their primary concern is whether the virus will emerge in their area, will their children’s school close and will their family be quarantined,” he said.
Crude oil prices
on Friday slid over 4%, while gold, a traditional haven investment, was down 0.9%. The ICE Dollar Index
fell 0.2%. Investors flocked to the yen, with the currency up 0.8% against the dollar at 108.87, while the New Zealand dollar
plunged 1% on news of the country’s first infection.
Government bonds saw a massive rally on Friday as investors scrambled for safety, sending yields further into record-setting territory. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury
slid 13 basis points to 1.18%/