U.S. stock index futures fell late Thursday, leaving Wall Street on track for another week of losses. As of 9 p.m. Eastern, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YM00, -1.21% were down more than 200 points, or 1%, while S&P 500 futures ES00, -1.17% and Nasdaq-100 futures NQ00, -1.20% slipped as well. Earlier, stocks gained in the regular session, with the Dow DJIA, +2.24% closing up more than 2% as President Donald Trump hinted at imminent production curbs by feuding oil giants Saudi Arabia and Russia. But investors may be bracing for Friday’s March jobs report, which is expected to be ugly though not fully indicative of the massive job losses caused by businesses shutting down due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday, data showed that unemployment applications last week soared to a record 6.6 million.
Markets fell in early Wednesday trading in Asia as investors digested a steady drip of worrying news about the economic ramifications of the global coronavirus outbreak.
Major indexes in Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea were modestly lower midday, as financial markets settled into a slow grind of bad news. While the panic of recent weeks appeared to have subsided, numerous signs pointed to glum prospects for a quick recovery.
After Wall Street’s Tuesday close, President Trump said at a news conference that the United States would face “a very painful, very very painful two weeks.” U.S. government scientists projected that the outbreak could kill up to 240,000 Americans.
Futures markets predicted Europe and the United States would open lower later on Wednesday. Prices for long-term U.S. Treasury bonds, a traditional investment safe haven, rose, as did gold futures. Oil prices were mixed.