Stock futures fell sharply on Sunday, indicating a lower open when Wall Street begins trading on Monday, as world governments race to contain the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Contracts on the S&P 500 slumped 5% just minutes after overnight trading opened at 6 p.m. ET Sunday, hitting the daily lower limit established by CME Group to prevent further extreme losses.
Last week, markets closed out an especially gruesome week as panicked investors sent benchmarks reeling to their lowest levels since 2017. Amid the worst trading conditions since the 2008 financial crisis, markets obliterated all of the gains made since President Donald Trump was inaugurated, with traders weighing the escalating coronavirus outbreak against vast stimulus measures designed to mitigate the crisis.
The virus’ rapid spread had led to social distancing policies that have all but brought America’s public life to a grinding halt — and has pushed stocks from record highs into a bear market in record time.
Amid mass closures of private businesses, soaring layoffs and school shutdowns, economists all but expect the global economy — and the world’s largest — to plunge into a deep recession in the coming quarters, even as the Federal Reserve and Washington throw trillions of dollars at the problem.
“When everything is said and done, officials are responding relatively quickly to the emerging economic and financial fallout,” wrote Marc Chandler at Bannockburn Global Forex on Sunday.
“The benefit of the 2008-2009 experience and response is helping in many respects. Many non-conventional tools had been developed and are being dusted off,” Chandler said. “Yet the magnitude of the problem is greater than in past crises, and some measures of volatility have already outstripped the high seen a decade ago.”
6:04 p.m. ET: Stock futures tumble, hit lower trading limit minutes after overnight trading begins
Futures for each of the three major indices sank Sunday evening, after Wall Street closed out its worst week since the 2008 financial crisis.
Here were the main moves in markets, as of 6:04 p.m. ET:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 2,174.00, -5.00% or -114.5 points
Dow futures (YM=F): 18,086.00, -5.01% or -954 points
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 6,628.75, -4.88% or -340.25 points
Monday’s opening bell will be closely watched for investor reaction to the coronavirus stimulus package being hashed out in Washington, as well as the New York Stock Exchange’s plan to temporarily shutter its iconic trading floor and transact in a completely electronic way. Some say the move could ramp up volatility in an already unsettled market.
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