U.S. stock futures were pointing to an 1,100-point slide for the Dow Jones Industrial Average at Thursday's open after President Donald Trump's address failed to ease concerns about the possible economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. S&P futures hit their 5% limit-down levels but subsequently traded off that low. An S&P 500 drop of over 7% in the regular session would trigger a 15-minute trading pause, which happened Monday. The temporary halt is the first of three levels of so-called circuit breakers designed to mitigate the downside.
Ahead of Trump's evening announcement of a ban on most travelers to the U.S. from Europe for the next 30 days, the Dow plunged over 1,450 points, or nearly 5.9%, closing in a bear market Wednesday afternoon. If the indicated losses for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were to hold by the close on Wall Street, they would join the Dow in bear market territory, which is defined by a decline of at least 20% from recent 52-week highs. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all closed at record highs just about a month ago.
The president's travel restrictions were punishing European markets Thursday, with more than 6% drops in stocks from the U.K. to Germany to France. Trump, in a primetime television address Wednesday night, also announced he would ask Congress for legislative action to provide payroll tax relief, as well as other measures for several groups impacted by the virus. House Democrats unveiled their own package of coronavirus relief. Among the broad cancellations in the U.S., tours of the Capitol building were suspended.
The NBA has suspended its season indefinitely after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus. The NCAA men's and women's March Madness college basketball tournaments will be played without fans. CME Group will close its Chicago trading floor in a precautionary move "at the close of business" Friday. Actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, tested positive for the virus in Australia, where he's working on a movie. Late-night TV shows taped in New York will now be recorded without a live audience. Twitter is making its work-from-home policy mandatory.
The increased precautions in the U.S. come as confirmed coronavirus cases in America top 1,300 with 38 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global cases, with the vast majority of still in China where the outbreak originated in December, rose to more than 126,000 with 4,641 deaths. Over half the virus patients around the world are listed as recovered. Italy, the biggest hot-spot outside China, tightened its nationwide lockdown, ordering all nonessential shops and services to close. Italy has over 12,400 cases with 827 deaths.
— Reuters contributed to this report.