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Stocks, oil sliding again in 'irrevocably changed' markets

Stock MarketsMar 18, 2020 05:55AM ET
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© Reuters. A passerby wearing a protective face mask, following an outbreak of the coronavirus, walks past an electronic board showing the graphs of the recent movements of Japan's Nikkei share average outside a brokerage in Tokyo

By Karin Strohecker and Hideyuki Sano

LONDON/TOKYO (Reuters) - Global stocks stumbled back into the red on Wednesday with Wall Street futures pointing to more losses ahead as fears over the coronavirus fallout eclipsed large-scale support measures rolled out by policymakers around the globe.

Some traditional safe-haven assets such as gold were also under pressure as battered investors looked to unwind their damaged positions.

Oil prices fell for a third session with U.S. crude futures tumbling to a 17-year low.

"Another remarkable day in what is clearly fin-de-regime," Rabobank's global strategist Michael Every wrote in a note.

"Things have already irrevocably changed and whipsaw market action reflects that this is the case. The only issue is how much further they change from here, and hence where markets settle."

European equity markets suffered hefty losses with London and Frankfurt down 3.5% in early trade while Paris and Milan slipped around 3%.

The falls in Europe followed losses in Asia where MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 3.8% to lows last seen in summer 2016, led by a 6.4% fall in Australia. Japan's Nikkei erased early gains to dip 1.7%. MSCI's global stocks index dropped 1%.

Losses were set to extend to Wall Street with U.S. stock futures indicating as much as 4% lower and hitting their daily low limit just a day after the S&P 500 rose 6% and Dow Jones rose 5.2% or 1,049 points. (N)

"A rise of 1,000 points in Dow is something you see only during a financial crisis. It is not a good sign," said Tomoaki Shishido, senior fixed income strategist at Nomura Securities.

"A rise of 100 points would be much better for the economy."

Big price swings have left market participants nursing losses, making them reluctant to jump back into the market and thereby reducing trading volume.

Tuesday's Wall Street gains came as policymakers cobbled together packages to counter the impact of the virus.

The Trump administration unveiled a $1 trillion stimulus package that could deliver $1,000 cheques to Americans within two weeks to buttress a virus-stricken economy.

Britain launched a 330 billion pounds ($400 billion) rescue package for businesses threatened with collapse while France, which went into lockdown on Tuesday, is to pump 45 billion euros ($50 billion) of crisis measures into its economy to help companies and workers.

Still, forecasters at banks are projecting a steep economic contraction in at least the second quarter as governments take draconian measures to combat the virus, shutting restaurants, closing schools and calling on people to stay home.

Tuesday saw also the U.S. Federal Reserve step in again to ease funding stress among corporates by reopening its Commercial Paper Funding Facility to underwrite short-term corporate loans.

"While markets react to positive news on stimulus, that doesn't last long. I think there are a lot of banks and investors whose balance sheet was badly hit and they still have lots of positions to sell," said Shin-ichiro Kadota, senior currency and rates strategist at Barclays (LON:BARC).

CORONA BONDS

In Europe, speculation grew around the issuance of joint euro zone "coronavirus" bonds or a European guarantee fund to help member states finance urgent health and economic policies.

That lifted high-grade euro zone government bonds yield, led by Germany, where yields rose nine basis points to the highest level in over a month at -0.342%. [GVD/EU]

Italian government bonds gained some respite after several sessions of relentless selling, with yields falling between two and six basis points across the curve.

Benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yield edged up to a fresh three week high of 1.2080 after the Fed move eased some market jitters, while U.S. 30-year bond yields climbed as high as 1.8380%.

In currency markets, the safe-haven yen gained sharply while the dollar held onto hefty overnight gains against other currencies. [FRX/]

The dollar slipped 0.1% against the yen to 107.53 yen while the euro stood at $1.0971. The dollar index against a basket of currencies stood at 99.699, up 0.12% on the day.

Oil prices fell as the outlook for fuel demand darkened with travel and social lockdowns triggered by the coronavirus epidemic.

U.S. crude was down 84 cents, or 3.12%, at $26.11 a barrel by 0822 GMT, having earlier fallen to $25.83 a barrel, the lowest since May 2003. [O/R]

Stocks, oil sliding again in 'irrevocably changed' markets
 

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Comments (9)
Yep YepYepYep
Yep YepYepYep Mar 18, 2020 10:25AM ET
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Jerry Wu = Russian shill. How much does Putin pay you?
David Ibanez
David Ibanez Mar 18, 2020 6:57AM ET
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trump you thought u could trick the market as you wish and then...
jemin An
jemin An Mar 18, 2020 6:14AM ET
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Global supply chains collapsed, without Chinese factories, Apple, Tesla can't sell the product in same price. Shall is going to face plunge in balance chart cause of oil price war. Global economy's future is blue.
Stephen Ekene
Stephen Ekene Mar 18, 2020 3:46AM ET
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you are right sir, if you read the intelligent investor you will see it clear.
Alpha Ngadan
Alpha Ngadan Mar 18, 2020 3:42AM ET
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Make sure to short the market or buy put options.
john lim
john lim Mar 18, 2020 3:24AM ET
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Dow will be down to 15000 next week.
A n a l y z e r
A n a l y z e r Mar 18, 2020 3:08AM ET
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This 'fear' is precisely how the big players (every 10 years or so) scare you out of the market, forcing you to sell everything at massive losses, filling you with Armageddon mentality, then they step in, swallow all your assets for super cheap, and soon after you will hear that Coronavirus virus cases are dropping significantly, and that stimulus will be provided for as long as necessary, whilst you watch the very stocks you sold for peanuts begin to soar. Most of you are probably not old or experienced enough to see this very obvious pattern, but hopefully you will learn from this experience. There is no doubt whatsoever of this fact.
YuFeng Zhao
YuFeng Zhao Mar 18, 2020 3:08AM ET
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True, but nobody cares
Paul Dunne
Paul Dunne Mar 18, 2020 3:08AM ET
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You are correct!
TYRONE MORGAN
TYRONE MORGAN Mar 18, 2020 2:41AM ET
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One step forward, two steps back.
Jake Might
Jake Might Mar 18, 2020 2:41AM ET
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make it 3 steps back
Xin Zhang
Xin Zhang Mar 18, 2020 2:21AM ET
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Don't be panic, Donald will inspire rally again.
 
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