U.S. stock futures fell sharply on Friday, a day after major benchmarks pushed into correction territory as investor fears heightened over just how much damage the fast-spreading coronavirus will wreak on the global economy.
How are major benchmarks trading?
On Thursday, the Dow industrials DJIA, -4.42% lost 1,190.90 points, or 4.4%, to close below 26,000 at 25,766.60, while the S&P 500 SPX, -4.42% slid 137.63 points, or 4.4%, to end at 2,978.76. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, -4.61% slumped 414.29 points, or 4.6%, finishing at 8,566.48.
All three benchmarks closed in correction territory, defined as a decline of at least 10%, but no more than 20%, from a recent peak. For the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, it marked the worst daily percentage drop since Aug. 18, 2011, but the steepest since Feb. 5, 2018 for the Dow.
The Dow is now down 9.71% for the year, while the S&P 500 is off 7.80% year-to-date, and the Nasdaq has lost 4.53%.
What’s driving the market?
Investors have endured days of increasingly grim updates on fallout from the coronavirus, as new infections continue to rise even as countries enact stronger and stronger measures. New Zealand and Nigeria were among the latest countries to report their cases.
Asian markets took up the grim baton from Wall Street on Friday, with the Nikkei 225 index NIK, -3.67% down 3.7%, as Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asked schools to close for a month and Tokyo Disney Resort operator Oriental Land Co. 4661, +0.66% said it would close its theme parks for two weeks. European stocks were set to open deep in the red.
The outbreak has the potential to become a pandemic and is at a decisive stage, the head of the World Health Organization said Thursday. The latest slide began late Wednesday as investors dismissed reassurances by President Donald Trump. Sentiment took another dive Thursday after California’s governor said 8,400 people were being monitored after traveling to China.
“This crisis has escalated to the point where the risk to the global consumer is the real problem. Starbucks and Apple can reopen their stores in China, but few people will go into them,” Michael O’Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading, told clients in a note.
“People are no longer worried about buying a house or a car, their primary concern is whether the virus will emerge in their area, will their children’ school close and will their family be quarantined,” he said.
Crude oil prices CLJ22, -0.23% on Friday slid 3%, while gold, a traditional haven investment, was down 0.5%. The ICE Dollar Index DXY, -0.15% fell 0.2%. Investors flocked to the yen, with the currency up 0.6% against the dollar at 108.87, while the New Zealand dollar NZDUSD, -0.9989% plunged 1% on news of the country’s first infection.