Futures creep higher as U.S. heads for longer shutdown

The S&P 500 .SPX posted its biggest weekly percentage gain in over a decade last week, while the Dow Jones .DJI its best since 1938, thanks to the record $2.2 trillion in aid agreed by officials.

All three major stock indexes, however, ended Friday more than 3% lower after the United States overtook China as the country with the most number of coronavirus cases.

The crisis has so far knocked $7.4 trillion off the value of S&P 500 companies and without any clarity on how long it will take to quell the outbreak, Wall Street’s main indicators of future volatility remain at high levels.

“There is no doubt that these financial packages can only go so far when it comes to negating the economic impact of the coronavirus,” said Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at IG in London.

Trump on Sunday dropped a hotly criticized plan to get the economy up and running again by mid-April, after a top medical adviser said more than 100,000 Americans could die from the coronavirus outbreak if mitigation measures were not successful.

JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) said on Saturday it expected real U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) to fall 10% in the first quarter and plunge 25% in the second quarter.

The CBOE volatility index dipped on Monday, but was still near levels far above those in 2018 and 2019. The prospect of extended global shutdowns also sent U.S. crude prices below $20 for the first time in 18 years. [O/R]

Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N) was the top gainer among S&P 500 components, rising nearly 11% after it won U.S. approval for a diagnostic test that can detect coronavirus in minutes.

General Motors Co (GM.N) rose 6% as Trump praised the automaker’s ventilator production after he invoked emergency powers to compel the manufacturing of badly needed equipment to tackle the pandemic.

At 07:11 a.m. EDT, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were up 17 points, or 0.08%, S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up 10.25 points, or 0.41% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 39.25 points, or 0.52%.

Reporting by Uday Sampath and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Sagarika Jasinghani and Anil D'Silva

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Reuters, 30 Mar, 2020

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