- European stocks and US futures fell on Thursday as coronavirus fears outweighed stimulus efforts.
- US lawmakers approved $8 billion, Chinese finance ministers allocated $16 billion, and the International Monetary Fund earmarked $50 billion to combat the epidemic.
- Rate cuts and government cash may not prevent coronavirus from disrupting businesses and supply chains, eroding consumer demand, and weakening global growth.
- “Investors have stopped backing riskier assets once again as they lose their optimistic side regarding the coordinated action of central banks around the globe,” one analyst said.
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European stocks and US futures dropped on Thursday as investors were swayed more by coronavirus fears than stimulus efforts.
Coronavirus — which causes a flu-like disease called COVID-19 — has infected more than 95,000 people, killed close to 3,300, and spread to more than 80 countries. The outbreak has forced workers and consumers to stay home to avoid transmitting the illness to others, disrupting businesses and supply chains and weakening consumer demand. As a result, coronavirus threatens to slash global economic growth this year.
Authorities rushed to mitigate the fallout this week. In the US, the Federal Reserve made a surprise cut to interest rates and the House of Representatives approved $8 billion in emergency funding. Chinese finance ministers allocated $16 billion for virus prevention and control, Reuters reported. Moreover, the International Monetary Fund earmarked $50 billion to support affected countries.
Despite those commitments, and reassuring US employment data released on Wednesday, stocks slid on Thursday.
“Investors have stopped backing riskier assets once again as they lose their optimistic side regarding the coordinated action of central banks around the globe,” Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade, said in a morning note.
Concerns that rate cuts and government cash won’t stop coronavirus from interfering with daily life may be rattling markets.
“Is anyone going to go to cinemas, theaters, pubs, restaurants, parties, festivals, hotels, conventions, sports events, etc., if this virus continues to spread?” Michael Every, senior Asia-Pacific strategist, asked in a research note.
Here’s the market roundup as of 11:05 a.m. in London (6:05 a.m. in New York):
- European equities fell, with Germany’s DAX down 1.3%, Britain’s FTSE 100 down 1.7%, and the Euro Stoxx 50 down 1.5%.
- Asian indexes rallied. China’s Shanghai Composite rose 2%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 2.1%, Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.1%, and South Korea’s KOSPI rose 1.3%.
- US stocks are set to open higher. Futures underlying the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq slumped by 1.7% to 1.9%.
- Oil prices rallied, with West Texas Intermediate up 1.3% at $47.40 a barrel and Brent crude up 1.3% at $51.80.
- The 10-year Treasury yield fell to about 0.98%.