A man walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Monday, March 30, 2020. Asian shares started the week with further losses as countries reported surging numbers of infections from the coronavirus that has prompted shutdowns of travel and business in many parts of the world.(AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
BANGKOK (AP) — World markets started the week with more losses as countries reported surging numbers of infections from the coronavirus, forcing prolonged shutdowns of travel and business in many regions.
Shares fell in London, Paris and Tokyo on Monday but surged 7% in Australia after the government promised more recession-fighting stimulus. The U.S. contract for oil fell below $20 a barrel for the first time since 2002.
U.S. futures fluctuated overnight, with the future for the S&P 500 up 0.1% shortly before the start of trading on Wall Street, while that for the Dow industrials dropped 0.1%.
Hopes that a $2 trillion U.S. relief bill would ease the economic havoc brought by the pandemic did little to alleviate the gloom prevailing in many markets.
The pandemic relief bill approved by the Congress and signed Friday by President Donald Trump includes direct payments to households, aid to hard-hit industries like airlines and support for small businesses. Analysts expect markets to remain turbulent, however, until the outbreak begins to wane.
“Sentiment once again took a turn for the worse going into a week of reckoning by means of economic fundamentals," analyst Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary. “The rally seen for Wall Street last week may amount to little more but a relief rally with sentiment turning sour once again going into a fresh week."
The push to deliver financial relief has gained urgency worldwide as the outbreak widens. The number of cases in the U.S. has now surpassed those in China and Italy, climbing to more than 142,000 known cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. The worldwide total has topped 723,000, and the death toll has topped 34,000, while nearly 152,000 have recovered.
On Monday, Germany's DAX was down 0.2% at 9,613 while the CAC 40 in Paris lost 1% to 4,310. Britain's FTSE 100 declined 0.8% to 5,469.
Tokyo's Nikkei 225 lost 1.6% to close at 19,084.97, while the Kospi in South Korea was flat at 1,717.12. The Shanghai Composite shed 0.9% to 2,747.21, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong slipped 1.3% to 23,175.11. Shares fell in Taiwan and Southeast Asia. India's Sensex fell 4.2% to 28,524.43.
Australian shares jumped higher after the government offered a $130 billion package of financial support that includes wage subsidies of up to $1,500 per two weeks to businesses to keep workers on the job.
Some investors have emerged to hunt for bargins as prices kept falling, said Francis Lun, CEO of Geo Securities in Hong Kong.
He views it as a bit too early.
“I think whatever rally you see, is really a false rally, it will be only a flash in the pan. It’s only temporary. Don’t go bottom fishing just yet because the worst is still to come," Lun said.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.
The damage from the pandemic to corporate profits, the ultimate driver of stock prices, remains uncertain.
But energy companies are suffering as the price of oil sinks. U.S. benchmark crude dropped $1.19 to $20.32 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It earlier traded briefly below $20 a barrel, the lowest since early 2002. Investment bank Goldman Sachs has forecast that it will trade consistently below $20 a barrel in the next two months because storage will be filled to the brim and wells will have to be shut in.
Brent crude, the international standard, gave up $1.61 to $26.34 per barrel.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 0.65% from 0.68% late Friday. Lower yields reflect dimmer expectations for economic growth and greater demand for low-risk assets.
In currency trading, the dollar was at 107.88 Japanese yen, down from 107.94 late Friday. The euro weakened to $1.1064 from $1.1142.
Associated Press writer Alice Fung in Hong Kong contributed to this report.
20 "Past Their Prime" Stocks to Dump From Your Portfolio
Did you know the S&P 500 as we know it today does not look anything close to what it looked like 30 years ago? In 1987, IBM, Exxon, GE, Shell, AT&T, Merck, Du Pont, Philip Morris, Ford and GM had the largest market caps on the S&P 500. ExxonMobil is the only company on that list to remain in the top 10 in 2017. Even just 15 years ago, companies like Radio Shack, AOL, Yahoo and Blockbuster were an important part of the S&P 500. Now, these companies no longer exist as public companies.
As the years go by, some companies lose their luster and others rise to the top of the markets. We've already seen this in the last few decades with tech companies surpassing industrial and energy companies that once dominated the S&P 500. It's hard to know what the next mega trend will be that will knock Apple, Google and Amazon off the top rankings of the S&P 500, but we do know that companies won't stay on the S&P 500 forever.
We've identified 20 companies that are past their prime. They aren't at risk of a near-term delisting from the S&P 500, but they are showing negative earnings growth for the next several years. If you own any of these stocks, consider selling them now before they become the next Yahoo, Radio Shack, Blockbuster, AOL and are sold off for a fraction of their former value.
View the "20 "Past Their Prime" Stocks to Dump From Your Portfolio".