Futures down 92 points as coronavirus spooks overseas markets
While positive economic signs are emerging, the ASX has become increasingly responsive to negative coronavirus related news, both at home and overseas.
These were the two main factors at play in an up-and-down day on Wednesday as the S&P/ASX 200 index (XJO) gained 11 points to close at 5966 points.
The situation has become much more critical overseas with the rapid rise in coronavirus cases having a marked impact on US markets with the Dow and the NASDAQ plunging 2.7% and 2.2% respectively.
This is likely to be the key driver today and the futures markets are pointing in that direction with the ASX SPI200 futures index down 92 points to 5837 points.
Other markets in the Asia-Pacific also traded erratically yesterday without any significant movements.
The Nikkei 225 was relatively flat, closing at 22,534 points.
The Hang Seng shed 125 points or 0.5% to close at 24,781 points.
In contrast, the Shanghai Composite made a slight gain of 9 points or 0.3%, closing at 2979 points.
It was when European markets opened that the change in investor sentiment became most obvious as the FTSE 100 plunged nearly 200 points or 3.1% to close at 6123 points.
The DAX was hit even harder as it fell 3.4% to close at 12,093 points, erasing most of the gains that have been made since the start of the month.
The CAC 40 shed 146 points or 2.9% to close at 4871 points.
The Dow is now back to late May levels, closing at 25,445 points, while the NASDAQ fell through the 10,000 point mark, closing at 9909 points.
There was a sharp spike in the CBOE Volatility Index as it surged from about 31 points to hit a high of 37 points.
Surprisingly, gold wasn’t a winner as negative sentiment set in, but it should be noted that at around US$1770 per ounce, it is close to the recent record high of $1788 per ounce.
The oil price took a hit as soon as Wall Street opened with the Brent Crude Oil Continuous Contract falling from US$43 per barrel to a low of US$40 per barrel.
Amidst this volatility, iron ore was one of the few shining lights as it gained 2.7% to US$103.
There was little movement in base metal prices with copper consolidating around the US$2.66 per pound mark.
The Australian dollar is fetching nearly US$0.69.