Market Snapshot: U.S. stock futures drop after Trump fails to reassure traders, new California case
U.S. stock futures were down sharply Thursday, after a news conference by President Donald Trump failed to reassure investors and as a new case of coronavirus with no known origin was discovered in California.
In choppy action reminiscent of recent days, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures
sank more than 200 points, but nearly 400 points at one stage, while S&P 500
and Nasdaq Composite futures
were also off by 0.7%. European stocks opened sharply lower, with the Stoxx Europe 600 index
“There’s no reason to be panicked,” Trump said Wednesday evening at a White House press briefing, as he played down the risks and said the nation is well-prepared for a possible Covid-19 outbreak. He also announced Vice President Mike Pence has been put in charge of the country’s outbreak response.
Meanwhile a new coronavirus case was confirmed in Northern California, the first in the U.S. by someone who hasn’t traveled to infected areas or been in known contact with anyone who has, raising the worrisome prospect that the virus is spreading by other means.
Jeffrey Halley, senior Asia Pacific market analyst at Oanda, wrote in a note: “President Trump finally addressed the arrival of coronavirus on U.S. shores, and the government’s response to controlling its potential spread. . . .Neither inspired an already shaky North American market.”
Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at AxiCorp, had a grim prediction as he addressed the new California case, in a note: “If this virus spread intensifies stateside, it will most definitely be the straw that breaks the market back.”
Also rattling investors, Germany’s health minister said Wednesday that the country was at the “beginning of an epidemic,” as it struggled to track the contacts of a 47-year old, hospitalized in a serious condition with the virus.
Earlier Wednesday, Microsoft Corp.
On Wall Street, the Dow and S&P 500 index fell for a fifth straight day on continued fears of the coronavirus outbreak’s impact on global economic growth. The Dow Jones Industrial Average
fell 123.77 points, or 0.5%, to settle at 26,957.50, marking the worst five-day point drop for the blue-chip index on record. The S&P 500
shed 11.82 points, or 0.4%, to close at 3,116.39, while the Nasdaq Composite
added 15.16 points, or 0.2%, to close at 8,980.77, snapping a four-day losing streak.
Asian markets continued to fall Thursday, with Japan’s Nikkei
down 2%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng
off 0.7% and South Korea’s Kospi
After falling for a fourth consecutive session Wednesday, oil futures continued to drop overnight, with West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery
and Brent crude, the global
down more than 1%.