Stocks roil as Fed, central banks implement measures to rescue global economy


Stock markets and the U.S. dollar reeled on Monday as the Federal Reserve cut interest rates as an emergency measure and as other central banks offered cheap dollars in an attempt to avoid a halt in lending markets globally.

The sudden policy measures were issued to ease the pandemic’s impact on global economy as more countries impose lockdowns and panic spreads faster in financial markets.

Industrial output plunged 13.5% and retail sales fell 20.5%.

Chief economist Nathan Sheets at PGIM Fixed Income said that the market wanted more U.S. fiscal policies and proof that the Trump administration was working to contain the virus and respond to the public health risks.

The S&P 500 index e-mini futures lost 4.77%; MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 2.4%; and the Nikkei slid 0.4%.

Shanghai blue chips dropped 1.5% despite the liquidity injected by the Chinese central bank into the economy.

New Zealand central bank also slashed rates by 75 basis points to 0.25%, while the Reserve Bank of Australia injected more money into their struggling financial system.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury yields went down from 0.95% to 0.66% on Friday.

The euro was at 1.1104 against the dollar while the Japanese yen was at 107.36 against the dollar.

The Australian dollar slid 0.6%, at $0.6132, while the New Zealand dollar dropped 0.4%, at $0.6036.

Oil prices plunged as global demand remained a concern of investors. Brent crude last traded at $32.84 a barrel after losing $1.01, while US crude slid 60 cents, at $31.13 per barrel.

Gold gained 0.2%, at $1,532.00.

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