U.S. stock futures fell Thursday, keeping pace with global markets as the coronavirus death toll and infections climbed, alongside concerns over how the outbreak could hurt the Chinese economy.
Those worries overshadowed upbeat earnings news from Tesla Inc. and Microsoft Corp.
What are major indexes doing?
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMH20, -0.69% fell 210 points or 0.7%, to 28,500, while S&P 500 futures ESH20, -0.69% dropped 23.90 points, or 0.7%, to 3,248.50. Nasdaq-100 futures NQH20, -0.59% declined 63 points, or 0.7%, to 9,035.50.
The Dow DJIA, +0.04% on Wednesday eked out a gain of 11.60 points, or less than 0.1%, to end at 28,734.45, while the S&P 500 SPX, -0.09% gave up 2.84 points, or 0.1%, to close at 3,273.40. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.06% finished at 9,275.16, gain of 5.48 points, or 0.1%.
What’s driving the market?
Chinese authorities on Thursday said more than 7,700 people have been infected, with at least 170 dead. World Health Organization officials expressed “great concern” over the virus’s spread outside of China. A U.N. panel is expected to meet Thursday to weigh if the outbreak should be declared a global emergency, the Associated Press reported.
Markets have been dogged by ebbing and flowing worries over the coronavirus this week, and a renewed selloff that started in Asia spread to European markets and stock futures on Thursday. Taiwan stocks Y9999, -5.75% reopened after the Lunar New Year holiday to a nearly 6% loss, with Apple AAPL, +2.09% supplier Foxconn tumbling nearly 10%. Hong Kong stocks HSI, -2.62% dropped over 2%.
China’s stock markets will remain closed until Monday, but investors are apprehensive that the market will face substantial losses as investors there catch up to global concerns over the deadly virus. Concerns are growing over the fallout to the country’s economy, as airlines in the U.S. and elsewhere have canceled flights to China. Starbucks SBUX, -2.12% said Wednesday that it planned to raise guidance, but was stopped as the virus has forced it to shut half its stores in China.
“Investors are clearly looking to the spread of the coronavirus and hoping it doesn’t start to show up more in Europe and the U.S. Fed chair Jay Powell’s concern over the outbreak only underlined caution as the order of the day,” said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com.
Federal Reserve Chief Jerome Powell said Wednesday that the U.S. economy is in good shape, as the central bank left a key interest rate unchanged. But he said the Fed is closely monitoring the severity of the deadly coronavirus and potential disruption to the global economy.
Which companies are in focus?
- Shares of Facebook FB, +2.50% were down more than 7% in premarket action after the company late Wednesday reported earnings that topped estimates but failed to quell concerns about the outlook.
- Microsoft Corp. MSFT, +1.56% shares rose 3% as the software giant topped earnings forecasts late Wednesday.
- Tesla TSLA, +2.49% shares surged more than 10% in off-hours trade after its earnings exceeded Wall Street views and the company set a goal to “comfortably” sell more than a half-million vehicles this year.
- Shares of chemicals giant DuPont de Nemours DD, -0.43% were 4.7% lower in premarket action after it delivered a 2020 forecast below Wall Street estimates early Thursday.
- Eli Lilly & Co. LLY, +0.47% shares rose more than 1% after the drug maker early Thursday reported fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that beat consensus expectations.
- Chevron Corp. CVX, -0.67% late Wednesday said its board of directors authorized a dividend increase of more than 8% to $1.29 a share.
- Another heavy round of earnings were expected ahead of the opening bell Thursday, including results from heavyweights like Raytheon Co. RTN, -0.13%, Altria Group Inc. MO, -0.12%, Verizon Inc. VZ, -1.93%, United Parcel Service Inc. UPS, +0.34% and Coca-Cola Co. KO, +0.00%.
What’s on the economic calendar?
Government statisticians take their first swing at estimating fourth-quarter gross domestic product at 8:30 a.m. Eastern. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch forecast economic growth to have slowed to a 1.9% annualized pace versus a 2.1% read in the third quarter.
Data on weekly jobless claims is also due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern. Economists expect first-time claims to rise to 218,000.