Global stocks and US futures drop as investors brace for jobless numbers

CNN's Julia Chatterley reports.

Posted: Mar 26, 2020 10:10 AM
Updated: Mar 26, 2020 10:10 AM

Global markets and US stock futures retreated Thursday as investors turned their attention from the mammoth stimulus package working its way through Congress to a labor market report that could confirm that millions of Americans lost their jobs last week as the coronavirus pandemic shut down huge swaths of the economy.

European stocks posted early losses after most major indexes in Asia ended the session down. Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 4.5%, making it the worst performer in the region. The Shanghai Composite shed 0.6% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gave up 1.2%.

The FTSE 100 opened down 2.6% in London, while losses on Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 approached 2%. Futures of Brent crude, the global benchmark, dropped by more than 3% to $26.54 as fears about oversupply and weaker demand caused by coronavirus continued to weigh on oil prices.

US stock futures pointed lower ahead of the release of US jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET, a report that will give investors their first sense of how much damage the pandemic is doing to the American labor market. The consensus estimate among economists is that 1 million people filed for unemployment benefits in the week ended March 21, which would be the highest ever recorded, but some believe the number could be much higher.

"This is expected to be just the start of a streak of terrible economic data to come in the following weeks," Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM, wrote in a research note.

Dow futures were were down 345 points, or 1.6%. S&P 500 futures dipped 2% and Nasdaq futures shed 1.7%. US stocks closed higher on Wednesday, notching their first back-to-back gains in weeks as lawmakers made progress on a $2 trillion package that will provide some relief to American workers and companies.

The package was approved by the Senate on Wednesday. It now goes to the House of Representatives before landing on the desk of President Donald Trump.

Looking ahead, analysts at Barclays expect markets to remain under pressure despite "Herculean efforts" by central banks and governments to keep their economies afloat.

"Markets will need some certainty that large economies finally have the spread of COVID-19 under control, before risk assets look past the near-term economic hit and mount a sustained rally," analysts at the bank wrote Thursday.

SoftBank retreats

Shares in SoftBank plunged 9% in Tokyo after two days of gains. The stock had advanced some 50% after the tech group announced on Monday that it would sell $41 billion worth of assets to buy back stock and reduce debt.

But on Wednesday, ratings agency Moody's pushed SoftBank deeper into junk status, downgrading the company's credit rating from Ba1 to Ba3. Moody's said selling assets just as the market is being roiled by uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic would reduce the value of SoftBank's portfolio.

SoftBank pushed back against the downgrade, saying Moody's "ignored" the company's explanations and statements to the market, and accused the agency of having "biased and mistaken views."

— Sherisse Pham and Anneken Tappe contributed to this report.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 51079

Reported Deaths: 2756
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion12019693
Lake5588248
Elkhart353959
Allen2939134
St. Joseph210669
Hamilton1691101
Cass16449
Hendricks1454100
Johnson1340118
Porter82638
Tippecanoe7709
Vanderburgh7276
Clark69544
Madison67464
LaPorte61628
Howard59858
Bartholomew59745
Kosciusko5754
Marshall5449
Noble51328
LaGrange4849
Boone48244
Jackson4783
Delaware47152
Hancock46736
Shelby45425
Floyd40644
Morgan34231
Monroe34028
Grant31826
Dubois3046
Henry30018
Montgomery29720
Clinton2903
White27410
Dearborn25823
Decatur25632
Lawrence25225
Vigo2528
Warrick25029
Harrison21722
Greene19432
Miami1932
Jennings17912
Putnam1738
DeKalb1694
Scott1649
Wayne1546
Daviess15017
Perry14710
Orange13723
Steuben1362
Jasper1352
Ripley1307
Franklin1278
Gibson1202
Wabash1162
Carroll1142
Fayette1067
Whitley1066
Starke1043
Newton10010
Huntington942
Jefferson862
Wells821
Randolph794
Fulton731
Knox710
Jay700
Washington681
Pulaski661
Clay645
Rush613
Posey570
Spencer541
Owen521
Benton510
Sullivan501
Adams491
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain352
Crawford330
Switzerland320
Tipton321
Parke270
Martin260
Ohio230
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union140
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 64214

Reported Deaths: 3036
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin11724445
Cuyahoga8979393
Hamilton6781207
Lucas2952305
Marion274539
Montgomery244035
Summit2327209
Pickaway222241
Mahoning1928239
Butler182147
Columbiana137860
Stark1214114
Lorain112069
Trumbull104578
Warren97725
Clark80010
Delaware69815
Fairfield66717
Tuscarawas60410
Lake58923
Medina58232
Belmont56922
Licking56812
Miami50631
Portage49259
Wood48851
Clermont4737
Ashtabula44744
Geauga42543
Wayne37253
Richland3715
Allen35641
Greene3439
Mercer29910
Erie27122
Holmes2595
Darke25626
Huron2402
Madison2169
Ottawa17324
Sandusky16015
Washington14620
Ross1443
Coshocton1423
Athens1391
Crawford1385
Putnam13715
Hardin12312
Morrow1201
Auglaize1094
Jefferson1092
Muskingum1001
Union931
Preble901
Monroe8917
Hancock861
Lawrence830
Guernsey823
Clinton811
Hocking809
Williams762
Shelby744
Logan711
Ashland672
Carroll673
Fulton670
Scioto670
Wyandot635
Brown611
Fayette550
Defiance533
Knox531
Champaign511
Highland501
Van Wert471
Perry441
Seneca412
Henry330
Paulding300
Jackson280
Pike280
Adams261
Vinton232
Gallia201
Noble140
Harrison131
Meigs130
Morgan110
Unassigned00
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