Global markets fall; stocks may trip another circuit breaker, Monday
The Federal Reserve slashed interest rates to zero, but investors aren't quite reassured by this response.
“Despite whipping out the big guns,” the Fed’s action is “falling short of being the decisive backstop for markets,” said Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank in a report. “Markets might have perceived the Fed’s response as panic, feeding into its own fears.”
The Fed action came as Western governments expanded travel curbs and closed more public facilities, raising the cost of efforts to contain the outbreak that has infected nearly 170,000 people worldwide. China, where the coronavirus emerged in December, accounts for about half of those, but a dozen other countries have more than 1,000 cases each.
As of Monday morning, stock markets are flashing red across the globe and U.S. equity futures have once again hit their "limit down" overnight, meaning they cannot fall any further.
This happened twice last week, and on both days stocks tripped a circuit breaker that halted trading for fifteen minutes.
According to CNN, the NYSE circuit breakers depend on drops in the S&P 500, with the first triggered at a 7% decline.
We could be in for another one of those today as traders are flying blind into the open.
Dow futures are down 1,041 points, or 4.5% at their limit down, while S&P 500 futures are off by 4.8%. Nasdaq Composite futures are down 4.5%.
ETFs tracking the three major indexes are painting a much gloomier picture: the S&P 500 tracker SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is down 9.7%.
The Associated Press reports that the Paris benchmark was down over 8%, London 6% and Frankfurt 7%.
In Asian trading, Sydney’s benchmark plunged 9.7%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 3.4% and India shed 5.9%.
Tokyo closed 2.5% lower after Japan’s central bank expanded asset purchases to inject money into the economy and promised no-interest loans to help companies cope with the crisis. Chinese shares fell after Beijing reported consumer spending and factory output were even worse than expected.
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