New York (CNN Business)Asian markets and US stock futures fell on Monday as governments worldwide lock down their cities and the United States stalls on a massive stimulus package meant to help Americans handle the coronavirus pandemic.
futures fell more than 900 points earlier in the morning, hitting a 5% decline that triggered a maximum allowable limit, or “limit down.” That halted futures from falling further. They were last down around
700 points, or 3.8%.
S&P 500 (SPX)
and Nasdaq (COMP)
futures also fell around 5%, and were last down 3.7% and 3.1%, respectively.
In Asia Pacific, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed down 5.6%, clawing back from as much as an 8.6% drop. South Korea’s Kospi (KOSPI)
ended down 5.3%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (HSI)
was last down 4.3%
while China’s Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP)
Japan’s Nikkei 225 (N225)
was the outlier, last trading up
2%. The International Olympic Committee’s executive board said Sunday it is considering postponing — but not canceling — this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo because of the pandemic.
There is pressure to take action: Canada said it won’t be sending teams to the Olympics this summer, and asked for the games to be postponed by one year.
The US dollar, meanwhile, pulled higher against some Asian currencies. It jumped 2.7% against the Korean won and was up 0.4% against the Australian dollar. It also climbed more than 1% versus the New Zealand dollar.
The greenback fell slightly against the Japanese yen, a traditional safe-haven currency.
“Investors are recoiling in horror this morning” at the latest statistics, according to Stephen Innes, global chief markets strategist at AxiCorp.
There are now more than 339,000 cases worldwide
— forcing further travel restrictions, shut downs and disruptions for businesses, and threatening the global economy.
New Zealand announced that all non-essential businesses across the country will close, its highest-level alert. Several cities in India also announced that they will go into lockdown.
“The rapid spread has triggered unprecedented draconian containment measures,” Innes wrote in a research note. “All the while Congress, is dilly dallying on an aid plan.”
Senate Democrats late Sunday blocked movement on an economic stimulus package, citing ‘serious issues’ with the bill. That injected fresh uncertainty over whether and when lawmakers will reach a bipartisan deal to deliver relief amid the pandemic.
US oil prices, meanwhile, improved slightly following a nearly 30% plunge last week. WTI crude futures were up 0.7% to trade at $22.79 a barrel.
Futures of Brent crude, the global benchmark, fell 2.9% to $26.20 a barrel.
— Jill Disis contributed to this report.