Futures Plummet as Wall Street Grapples with COVID Crisis

U.S. stock futures fell sharply early Wednesday as investors feared an increase in coronavirus infections could halt the recovering economy.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrials dropped 475 points, or 1.7%, to 26,890. The Dow is already down 3% on the week, giving up its gain for October.

Futures for the S&P 500 slouched 50 points, or 1.5%, at 3,333.

Futures for the NASDAQ Composite let go of 147.25 points, or 1.3%, to 11,440.75.

Daily U.S. coronavirus cases have risen by a record average of 69,967 over the past week, data compiled by Johns Hopkins University showed. Meanwhile, coronavirus-related hospitalizations are up 5% or more in 36 states, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project.

This uptick has led some countries to reinstate certain lockdown measures. In the U.S., the state of Illinois has ordered Chicago to shut down indoor dining.

Stocks that would be hurt most by lockdowns or a slowdown in the economy reopening were hit in pre-market trading. Shares of Delta Air Lines fell 2.5% in pre-market trading. Royal Caribbean shares lost 3%.

Wall Street also pored through the latest batch of corporate earnings for the previous quarter, including those of tech giant Microsoft.
Microsoft reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue for the previous quarter as sales from its cloud business grew sharply. However, the stock dipped 1.9% in pre-market trading.

Boeing reported a quarterly loss that’s narrower than expected, but the company said it plans to cut thousands of additional jobs through 2021 as it adjusts to the long-term drop in air travel demand. Shares of Boeing rose slightly in pre-market.

Shares of General Electric gained more than 3% in pre-market trading Wednesday after the company reported stronger than forecast revenues and a surprise adjusted profit for the third quarter.

First Solar also posted quarterly numbers that beat analyst expectations, sending its shares up about 10% after the bell.

Overseas, in Japan, the Nikkei 225 dipped 0.3% Tuesday, while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index also fell 0.3%.

Oil prices faltered $1.85 to $37.72 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices fell $23.20 to $1,888.70.