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Dow futures swung more than 1,000 points overnight

Bloomberg via Getty Images

US stock futures and markets in Europe fell Monday despite reassurances from the world’s central banks that they stand ready to help limit the economic and financial damage caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Dow futures are off 180 points, or 0.7% lower, after falling as many as 500 points and gaining as many as 600 points throughout a roller coaster night. S&P 500 futures have slid 1%, while Nasdaq futures have skid 0.4%.

The losses follow a brief respite for stocks in Asia, which rebounded after Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda promised that the country’s central bank would provide “ample liquidity” to ensure stability in financial markets.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed 1% higher. South Korea’s Kospi finished the day up 0.8%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.6%. China’s Shanghai Composite was nearly 3.2% higher.

But optimism that central banks would be able to ease the economic pain was short-lived. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned Monday that global growth could be cut in half this year if the outbreak continues to spread. And data out of China showed that factory output collapsed last month.

Britain’s FTSE 100 is now trading down 0.6%, while Germany’s DAX is off 1.9%. France’s CAC 40 is 1.8% lower.

Trillions were wiped off stocks worldwide last week as markets suffered their worst rout since the global financial crisis of 2008.

It’s not just the Bank of Japan that stands ready to intervene. Investors believe the US Federal Reserve will cut rates at its meeting later this month, according to the CME’s FedWatch Tool. Just last month, markets gave only an 11% chance of that happening.

The world’s central banks may take even more dramatic actions, according to Bill Nelson, executive vice president and chief economist at the Bank Policy Institute. In a note this weekend, he predicted a “coordinated easing across the major central banks,” possibly including the People’s Bank of China and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, as early as this week.

“The global nature of the problem calls for a global response, a coordinated easing avoids the risk of competitive devaluations, and the coordinated actions during the financial crisis were considered especially helpful,” Nelson added.

But central banks may be limited in what they can do. Interest rates are already at or near historic lows, while central bank balance sheets are swollen from years of bond-buying.

The coronavirus outbreak has been weighing on the global economy and on markets. There have now been 85,000 reported cases of the disease, which has reached every continent except Antarctica.

And all three major US stock indexes are coming off their worst weekly percentage drops since the financial crisis. Crude oil, gold and Treasury yields all slipped last week, too.

-— Julia Horowitz and Kaori Enjoji contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: Biz/Tech

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