Stock futures sink as coronavirus cases top 700,000 globally

Stocks futures kicked off the overnight session lower on Sunday as market participants continued tracking the spread of the coronavirus and the daily life disruptions it has invoked around the world.

Cases of the coronavirus climbed further over the weekend, topping 700,000 globally as of Sunday evening, according to Johns Hopkins data. The number of cases in the U.S. rose above 137,000, along with more than 2,000 deaths.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious disease expert and member of the White House coronavirus task force, said during a CNN interview Sunday that he believed the virus could claim the lives of as many as 200,000 Americans amid “millions of cases,” noting that the estimates remain “a moving target.”

New York remains an epicenter for the outbreak, with the number of confirmed cases jumping by about 7,200 on Sunday to 59,513, Governor Andrew Cuomo said. The state also reported its largest one-day increase in deaths Sunday, with the toll rising by 237 to 728.

A day earlier, the Center for Disease Prevention and Control issued a domestic travel advisory urging New York, New Jersey and Connecticut residents to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days, in effort to prevent the coronavirus from spreading from hot spots to areas of the country where health-care infrastructure may be less capable of handling an influx in cases. The Trump administration, however, stopped short of issuing an order for an enforceable quarantine for the New York City and tristate area, as had reportedly been mulled in earlier discussions.

Coronavirus pandemic.
Coronavirus pandemic.

Volatility continues to grip financial markets as the pandemic rages on, sending stocks whirring higher and then crashing down as investors weigh the toll from the virus against policymakers’ frantic efforts to contain the fallout. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on “Fox News Sunday” he expects the U.S. administration will have a small business loan program implemented this week, and that workers can expect their direct checks from the $2 trillion stimulus package signed by President Donald Trump on Friday in about three weeks.

Despite Friday’s single-session decline of more than 4%, the Dow netted a 12.8% gain last week for its best one-week advance since 1938.

A number of analysts have predicted that a quelling of financial market volatility will require evidence of a reduction in the number of new coronavirus cases, and signals that business for industries forced to pare back or halt operations amid virus containment efforts has resumed.

In a note over the weekend, Goldman Sachs analysts led by Peter Oppenheimer highlighted four occurrences they believed would need to take place for market stabilization: “[First], a sign that the policy intervention is sufficient to prevent severe second- and third-round economic shocks; a sign that the infection rate is reaching a peak; a sign that the economic downturn may be slowing; and cheap valuations,” they wrote.

“In reality, we believe it will be a combination of these, and in some cases there are already signs these are in place,” they said.

6:02 p.m. ET Sunday: Stock futures sink as coronavirus cases jump further in the U.S.

Futures for each of the three major indices opened lower Sunday morning, signaling renewed declines heading into the regular trading session Monday.

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 6:02 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): down 2.00%, or 50.50 points to 2,473.50

  • Dow futures (YM=F): down 1.72% or 369 points to 21,068.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): down 1.62% or 122.5 points to 7,446.00

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 30: Atmosphere at the CIROC NYSE Closing Bell at New York Stock Exchange on August 30, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 30: Atmosphere at the CIROC NYSE Closing Bell at New York Stock Exchange on August 30, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/WireImage)

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