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Stock futures halted for trading as investors await stimulus bill

Stocks were poised to extend losses Monday after posting their worst week since the financial crisis, as investors awaited government action to combat the coronavirus pandemic. 

On Sunday evening, futures for the Dow Jones industrial average tumbled more than 900 points while Standard & Poor’s 500 futures fell 5%, triggering an automatic shock absorber. 

Investors were monitoring negotiations between Congress and the White House in hopes of a resolution on a $1 trillion-plus economic rescue package that aims to soften the economic damage from the virus. 

“The key issue to look out for in the ongoing U.S. fiscal negotiations is the speed with which any fiscal package will arrive in the hands of companies and consumers,” Torsten Slok, chief economist at Deutsche Bank Securities, said in a note. “The longer it takes, the deeper the ongoing slowdown will be.”

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Stock prices are monitored at the New York Stock Exchange, Feb. 26, 2020.

Global financial markets are likely headed for more turbulence next week as investors assess the economic fallout from business closures and layoffs. U.S. unemployment aid applications, released Thursday, are projected to surge to more than 2 million in the latest week, Goldman Sachs analysts forecast.

Investors have fretted over how badly the economy will get hit by the deadly pandemic and how many companies may go into bankruptcy due to a cash crunch. Wall Street is fearful that the virus will push the U.S. into recession.

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