Market panic lingers despite unprecedented Fed support

By Rodrigo Campos NEW YORK (Reuters) - Unprecedented support from the U.S.

Reuters March 24, 2020 00:05:56 IST
Market panic lingers despite unprecedented Fed support

Market panic lingers despite unprecedented Fed support

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Unprecedented support from the U.S. Federal Reserve failed to lift global stock markets on Monday as investors continued to fret over the economic and human toll of the coronavirus pandemic.

Traditional safe-havens like U.S. Treasuries and gold rose as investors fleeing riskier and higher-yielding assets looked for a place to park their money.

The Fed's move includes new programs that will lend against student loans, credit card loans and U.S. government backed-loans to small businesses, as well others to buy bonds of larger employers and extend them loans.

"While great uncertainty remains, it has become clear that our economy will face severe disruptions," the Fed said in a statement.

Although S&P 500 futures rose sharply after the announcement, stocks traded in the red from the opening bell, dropping almost 5% at one point. The Nasdaq was recently in positive territory.

"It's their bazooka moment. It’s their 'We'll do whatever it takes' moment," said Russell Price, chief economist at Ameriprise Financial Services in Troy, Michigan.

"But quite frankly the market is just in a waiting period right now until the virus runs its course and some of the therapies and other treatments are able to improve outcomes."

Morgan Stanley analysts said on Monday they expect global growth to dip close to global financial crisis lows and U.S. growth to drop to a 74-year low in 2020. Goldman Sachs sent a similar warning.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> fell 267.93 points, or 1.4%, to 18,906.05, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 31.46 points, or 1.36%, to 2,273.46 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 20.31 points, or 0.3%, to 6,899.82.

The Dow at one point traded below its closing level on November 8, 2016, effectively erasing all the gains since the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> lost 4.30% and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe <.MIWD00000PUS> shed 2.27%.

Emerging market stocks lost 5.38%. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> closed 5.66% lower, while Japan's Nikkei <.N225> rose 2.02%.

Globally, analysts are dreading data on weekly U.S. jobless claims due on Thursday amid forecasts they could balloon by 750,000 and possibly by more than a million.

The Fed's moves put pressure on the U.S. dollar, which has risen sharply as the panic-selling drives investors toward the liquidity of the greenback and to dollar-denominated assets.

The buying continued in U.S. Treasuries, for example, and yields fell sharply.

"At the end of the day, the Fed's injections announced Monday are designed to backstop liquidity in market functioning but cannot avert the economic calamity that's already underway," said Jon Hill, U.S. rates strategist at BMO Capital Markets.

"It really is just trying to make sure markets work and companies and municipalities can access markets when needed, but that doesn't mean layoffs aren't coming, it doesn't mean that a recession is not coming. And if you're the equity market, it's really hard to rally even on that news."

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes last rose 1-29/32 in price to yield 0.7452%, from 0.938% late on Friday. The 30-year bond last rose 4-30/32 in price to yield 1.3719%, from 1.562%.

The dollar index <.DXY> was little changed after falling as much as 0.84% after the Fed's announcements. The dollar fell 0.302%, with the euro up 0.69% to $1.0768.

The Japanese yen weakened 0.42% versus the greenback at 111.23 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at $1.1522, down 1.02% on the day.

Investors are waiting on the U.S. government to pass stimulus to support the economy.

"I think the one thing we really need to see is more fiscal ammunition coming to the fore," said Mazen Issa, senior currency strategist at TD Securities in New York. “You've got to think about those that are asked to be socially distant and stay home from work and not earn a paycheck and they're taking their time to make them whole. They need to speed it up."

U.S. crude recently fell 0.22% to $22.58 per barrel and Brent was recently at $26.50, down 1.78% on the day.

Spot gold added 4.1% to $1,558.40 an ounce.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; additional reporting by Karen Brettell, Kate Duguid in New York, Marc Jones in London and Uday Sampath Kumar and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Dan Grebler)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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