Stock futures tick into the green
U.S. equity futures limped higher in early morning trading Friday, after the growing coronavirus pandemic on Thursday sent Wall Street into its worst drop since the Black Monday crash of October 1987.
Market players are hoping that Republicans and Democrats will pass an economic stimulus package to limit the effects of the pandemic on U.S. businesses and workers. According to Reuters, the two sides neared agreement on the package on Thursday, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying she hoped to announce a deal today.
Futures linked to the blue-chip Dow were up $691.5 points, or 3.28% to 21,776.5 as of 5:35 a.m. ET. The S&P 500 futures rose 83.38 points, or 3.38% to 2,552.38 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a gain of 270.63 points, or 3.75% to 7,485.88.
Oil prices move higher
Oil prices were also higher on Friday morning, though they are still on pace for their biggest weekly decline since the 2008 global financial crisis because of the coronavirus pandemic and the Saudi Arabia-Russia a price war.
By 5:35 a.m. ET, U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up $1.36, or around 4.32%, at $32.86 per barrel. International Brent crude oil futures were at $34.75 a barrel, up $1.53, or about 4.61%.
Bans imposed on some European short selling after big market rout
Elsewhere, securities watchdogs in Italy and Spain have issued a ban on the short selling of some stocks after sharp falls in recent sessions caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic. The two countries’ national securities regulators announced the decisions late on Thursday in a bid to calm markets.
Italian regulator Consob said the ban will apply to 85 stocks, including Italian soccer club giants Juventus and Lazio, and luxury automaker Ferrari. Italy is Europe’s worst-affected country with more than 15,100 Covid-19 cases and more than 1,000 deaths.
In Spain the ban will cover 69 stocks, including all illiquid shares that dropped by more than 20% on Thursday, and all liquid shares whose price dropped more than 10%.
Short sellers borrow shares and immediately sell them, hoping the price will go down before they buy back the shares and return them to the lender, pocketing the difference as profit.