Stock futures bounce as stimulus hopes dull recession fears

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures jumped about 4% on Tuesday, clawing back dramatic losses recorded a day earlier on rising hopes for coordinated policy easing to avert a global recession from the coronavirus epidemic.

Wall Street’s main indexes plunged more than 7% on Monday – the 11th anniversary of the longest U.S. bull run – as oil prices plummeted following pledges by top producers Saudi Arabia and Russia to increase output in an over-supplied market.

The selloff on Monday was so sharp it triggered trading halts put in place in the wake of 1987’s “Black Monday” crash, with the blue-chip Dow Jones shedding as much as 2,000 points and the indexes slipping toward a bear market.

Markets now await President Donald Trump’s news conference on Tuesday, a day after he promised “major” steps to combat the virus outbreak and said he would discuss a payroll tax cut with congressional Republicans.

“For markets, confidence and, ultimately, economic activity to turn up again, we will need clear evidence that the spread of the virus is being held back sufficiently to allow health systems to cope,” said Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg.

The number of confirmed virus cases in the United States rose to 668 on Monday, from over 500 a day earlier.

Meanwhile, Italy has been placed under nationwide lockdown until next month and Japan unveiled a $4 billion package to help combat the outbreak.

At 7:30 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were up 947 points, or 3.97%. S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up 111.25 points, or 4.05%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 336.25 points, or 4.23%.

The S&P 500 has not yet posted a one-day gain of 5% in this bull market – which began with the bottoming of the benchmark index on March 9, 2009. The index’s biggest one-day gain in this run so far was 4.959% on Dec. 26, 2018.

Oil also recouped some losses from its biggest one-day decline since the Gulf War in 1991, supported by expectations for a settlement to the price war and potential U.S. output cuts. [O/R]

Oil majors Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) and Chevron Corp (CVX.N) climbed more than 7% in premarket trading, while Occidental Petroleum Corp (OXY.N), Apache Corp (APA.N) and Marathon Oil Corp (MRO.N) jumped between 18% and 25%.

Shares of U.S. banks including Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), Citigroup Inc (C.N), JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), Goldman Sachs (GS.N), Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N) were up between 4.7% and 6%.

The S&P banks index .SPXBK fell about 14.2% on Monday, in its worst day since April 2009, as the yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury US10YT=RR slid to a record low.

Focus will also be on the showdown between Democratic presidential hopefuls Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders in Michigan, following the former vice president’s near sweep on Super Tuesday.

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