Markets braced for more volatility on Monday, with investors unnerved by the growing possibility of a coronavirus pandemic. Last week, investors bolted risk-sensitive assets in favor of safe haven assets, including gold and Treasuries.
7:30 a.m. ET: Stock futures slump in early trading
Here were the main moves during the pre-market session, as of 7:30 a.m. ET:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,265.00, down 74.25 points or 2.22%
Dow futures (YM=F): 28,293, down 688.00 points or 2.37%
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 9,222.25, down 235.75 points or 2.49%
Crude oil (CL=F): $51.39 per barrel, down $1.99 or 3.73%
Gold (GC=F): $1,682.50 per ounce, up $33.70 or 2.04%
An unexpected surge in confirmed infections within South Korea and Italy — which now has the largest cluster of cases outside of China — raised the possibility that the mystery virus could be mutating into a pandemic. Last week, the Hubei province at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak revised its method of counting cases for the third time this month, further undermining confidence in the country’s official counts.
It raises the stakes for the entire global economy rather than just China, where the overwhelming majority of the world’s nearly 80,000 cases are located. According to Marc Chandler at Bannockburn Global Forex:
The [coronavirus] has not only crippled the Chinese economy, but its sheer size and magnitude of its integration in the global supply chains have far-reaching knock-on effects. Asia-Pacific economies that were increasingly reliant on Chinese input and demand are the most vulnerable. Estimates suggest that the world’s second-largest economy is operating well less than 50% of capacity.
Indeed, the extension of the stoppages and disruptions increase the likelihood that the Chinese economy contracts in Q1 [and] The supply chain disruptions are adversely impacting Japanese and Korean automakers. German automakers derived a substantial share of their profits from China, and car sales continue to weaken.
The virus is sending ripples across the global supply chain, with names like Volkswagen, Burberry, Starbucks and Apple among the growing list of multinationals whose operations are being adversely impacted by the outbreak.