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Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

US stock plunge hits 4% with stimulus in doubt

  • The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 0.63% before bouncing back above 0.8%, while the 30-year rate turned positive
  • Crude tumbled back toward $33 a barrel

NEW YORK : Virus-fomented turmoil continued to rattle global financial markets, with US stocks plunging more than 4% as investors await details of a policy response from the Trump administration. Long-dated Treasuries erased gains.

The S&P 500 was close to wiping out Tuesday’s surge, after President Donald Trump failed to deliver on his promise for a sweeping stimulus package to combat the economic effects of the coronavirus. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 0.63% before bouncing back above 0.8%, while the 30-year rate turned positive. Crude tumbled back toward $33 a barrel. Goldman Sachs slashed its forecast for the S&P 500 and said the bull market will end soon.

“Every day we get whipsawed back and forth, and what we’re seeing today is general disappointment that fiscal policy is not at all clear in how it’s going to stimulate the economy," said Michael Reynolds, an investment strategy officer at Glenmede Trust Co.

Here are the main moves in global markets:

Financial markets whipsawed this week as investors grappled with the potential economic hit from the virus that is upending daily routines around the world. Policy makers have grown increasingly ready to take action, with the ECB indicating it may move as soon as this week, the Bank of England cutting rates and German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledging to do “whatever is necessary" to bolster the economy.

In the US, the Trump administration continues to promise “major" stimulus, but details remain uncertain. Democrats plan to urge the president to declare a national state of emergency. Markets are now growing worried that whatever does come will not have the ability to stave off a major blow to the world’s largest economy.

“Despite the hopes for fiscal stimulus everywhere, we see significant downside risks," said Guillaume Tresca, a strategist at Credit Agricole SA in Paris. “As long as uncertainties remain on the number of cases, and central banks’ actions and fiscal stimulus plans are not lifted, we see few reasons for a protracted and long-term rebound."

Meanwhile, Joe Biden cemented his position as front-runner for the U.S. Democratic presidential nomination with primary victories Tuesday, further easing concerns among those opposing Bernie Sanders’s progressive platform.


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