Stocks Extend Decline After Powell’s Virus Warning: Markets Wrap

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(Bloomberg) — U.S. stocks tumbled and Treasuries surged as investors worried the Federal Reserve’s emergency cut won’t be enough to combat the economic impact of the coronavirus.The S&P 500 headed for its eighth drop in nine days after getting whipsawed following the Federal Reserve’s 50 basis-point cut of its benchmark rate. Fed chair Jerome Powell said during a press conference that the U.S. economy remains strong but the virus outbreak will weigh on activity “for some time.”The two-year Treasury yield sunk to 0.73%, while the 10-year plunged toward 1%. Banks led losses on equity benchmarks.“Does a 50 basis point cut change things? That’s a tough one to answer,” said Subadra Rajappa, head of U.S. rates strategy at Societe Generale. “Fed cuts tend to be less effective in situations like this when there is a supply and demand shock.”Investors had piled out of risk assets last week as the spreading virus threatened to derail global growth, only to pour back in Monday in anticipation of concerted action from Group of Seven officials. Oil continued its rebound Tuesday, approaching $48 a barrel, while gold also rose. The yen was higher versus the dollar.“Moving between meetings with a bigger than normal interest rate cut looks like Fed officials are panicking as much as stock market investors did last week,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist for MUFG Union Bank. “They did not need to be so aggressive and the Fed under Powell keeps responding wrongly in our view more to the financial markets than they are to the broader economy. We aren’t in a recession yet and today’s move won’t keep one from coming.”The OECD warned that growth will sink to levels not seen in more than a decade and ever more businesses are warning about the impact of the illness.The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, said it would take all necessary steps to help the economy. Australia lowered its benchmark by a quarter percentage point. Its currency rose, however, underscoring how traders’ expectations have rapidly shifted in recent days.These are the main moves in markets:StocksThe S&P 500 Index fell 2.1% as of 1:24 p.m. New York time.The Down Jones Industrial Average dropped 2.3%.The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 1.4%.The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.5%.CurrenciesThe Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.4%.The euro rose 0.2% to $1.1161.The British pound gained 0.4% to $1.2808.The Japanese yen strengthened 0.9% to 107.33 per dollar.BondsThe yield on 10-year Treasuries decreased 14 basis points to 1.02%.The two-year rate lost 17 basis points to 0.73%.Germany’s 10-year yield dropped two basis points to -0.64%.CommoditiesGold futures added 3.3% to $1,647.30 an ounce.West Texas Intermediate crude gained 1.2% to $47.31 a barrel.–With assistance from Sophie Caronello.To contact the reporters on this story: Vildana Hajric in New York at vhajric1@bloomberg.net;Katherine Greifeld in New York at kgreifeld@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeremy Herron at jherron8@bloomberg.net, Randall Jensen, Sam PotterFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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