Stock futures climb after historic rout; coronavirus fears persist

U.S. equity futures initially suggested more volatility could come to the U.S. markets when they reopened on Friday.

On Thursday evening shortly after 6 p.m. ET, Dow futures (YM=F) were down 0.3%, S&P futures (ES=F) were down 0.4%, and Nasdaq futures (NQ=F) were down 0.3%.

By around 6:30 p.m. ET, contracts for the three indices had turned positive.

Financial markets plunged for the sixth consecutive day on Thursday, with coronavirus fears shaving over 1,100 points off the Dow (^DJI) — its biggest in history — and sending the S&P 500 (^GSPC) swooning to its fastest-ever correction.

“Global markets were down $1.83 trillion today, with the U.S. down $1.33 trillion,“ S&P Dow Jones’ Howard Silverblatt said in an email. He added that over the past six days, global markets erased $6 trillion in wealth with U.S. markets losing $4 trillion.

Investors took fright amid the first coronavirus case in the U.S. involving a person who didn’t travel to an infected country and didn’t knowingly interact with someone who did. Meanwhile, California’s governor said the state is monitoring more than 8,400 people who could possibly have the virus.

The virus continues to spread globally, with more than 82,000 cases and more than 2,800 deaths. The world’s biggest hot spots outside of China include Italy, South Korea, and Iran, where the death rate is higher than other hard-hit areas. Experts are becoming increasingly resigned to a worldwide spread of the disease, even as China’s new infections slow.

All of those developments hammered global markets.

The last six days saw the S&P 500 drop by 10% from its all-time high at rate faster than it ever has before, according to Deutsche Bank Securities.

*To be clear, a “correction” is characterized by a 10% decline from a recent all-time high. And so, while Black Monday (Oct. 19, 1987) saw the market crash in a single day, the peak in that cycle actually occurred two months earlier in August.

Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, 4:00 p.m. ET: Dow drops more than 1,100 points after news California is monitoring thousands of possible cases

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -4.42% or -137.63 points to 2,978.76

  • Dow (^DJI):  -4.42% or -1,190.95 points to 25,766.64

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): -4.61% or -414.29 points to 8,566.48

  • Crude oil (CL=F): -4.90% or -2.39 to $46.34 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -0.10% or -1.60 to 1,641.50 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): -0.84% or -0.0110 to 1.2990

The state of coronavirus outbreak as of 2/27/20. (Graphic: David Foster/Yahoo Fiannce)

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