Thursday January 30th


US futures tumble as coronavirus death toll in China continues to rise

U.S. stock index futures fell sharply on Thursday morning. Around 5:45 a.m. ET, Dow futures implied a negative open of more than 150 points, while futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were also lower. Market focus is largely attuned to the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, with China’s National Health Commission confirming on Thursday that the death toll has hit 170, with confirmed cases of the virus surpassing 7,700. U.S. stocks closed little changed on Wednesday even as the Federal Reserve kept interest rates steady in the 1.5% to 1.75% range and struck an optimistic tone on the health of the U.S. economy. Investors will have an eye on U.S. fourth-quarter GDP figures set for release at 8:30 a.m. ET, along with weekly jobless claims. Corporate earnings remain in focus, with Facebook warning on Wednesday that growth could continue to slow as the business matured, and reporting a sharp rise in quarterly expenses associated with improving privacy. Tesla enjoyed a second consecutive quarterly profit on record vehicle deliveries and vowed to produce over 500,000 units this year, sending the stock surging. Microsoft beat Wall Street expectations on fourth-quarter sales and profit on the back of strong cloud revenue, while Boeing posted its first annual loss since 1997 as the grounded 737 Max continued to weigh. Altria, UPS, Verizon, and Coca-Cola are among those reporting earnings before the bell on Thursday, while Amazon, Visa, EA, Levi Strauss, and U.S. Steel are all due to report after the close of trading. Stocks in Asia fell on Thursday as the U.S. Federal Reserve kept interest rates on hold and investors continued to watch for developments on the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 2.62% to close at 26,449.13. In Taiwan, where markets returned to trade from the holidays, the Taiex plunged 5.75% to close at 11,421.74. Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan slipped 1.72% to close at 22,977.75 while the Topix index declined 1.48% to end its trading day at 1,674.77. In South Korea, the Kospi closed 1.71% lower at 2,148.00. Markets in China remained closed on Thursday for a holiday. Oil prices fell on Thursday as alarm spread over the economic impact of the Wuhan virus in China, while a bigger-than-expected increase in U.S. crude stocks added to the negative tone. Brent was down 95 cents, or 1.6%, at $58.86 a barrel by 0738 GMT, having risen 0.5% on Wednesday. U.S. crude was down 84 cents, or 1.6%, at $52.49 a barrel, after dropping 0.3% in the previous session. Gold extended the previous session’s gains on Thursday as mounting worries that an outbreak of coronavirus centred on China could impact global economic growth pushed investors into safe havens. Spot gold was up 0.3% to $1,580.95 per ounce after rising 0.7% on Wednesday, while U.S. gold futures were 0.62% higher at $1,585.8.