Asian markets surged Wednesday, but European stocks and U.S. futures were mixed as fears of the spread of the deadly coronavirus weighed heavily on investors.
Japan’s Nikkei index jumped 8%, following massive gains in New York on Tuesday, with the widely watched Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 key U.S. stocks surging more than 11%, its biggest one-day gain in 87 years. Hong Kong's Hang Seng finished up 4% and the Shanghai Index gained 2%.
But as Wednesday trading moved to Europe, the results were more measured, with key indexes in London and Paris up more than 1%, while the benchmark Frankfurt indicator off by 1%.
In New York, ahead of the start of trading for the day, Dow futures drifted slightly up or lower, while the broader S&P 500 index for futures was down 1%.
Tuesday’s robust gains in the U.S. and Europe and Wednesday’s boost in Asia were buttressed by the U.S. Congress finalizing work on a massive $2 trillion aid package to U.S. businesses and most Americans to offset the disruption to corporations slowed or shut down by the coronavirus pandemic.
It was the biggest-ever government investment in the U.S. economy, the world’s largest, but also one that has been buffeted by the growing spread of the virus.
Uncertainty about the virus and its economic toll has rattled markets for weeks, especially the last month. Stock prices have fallen sharply while governments and central banks have rushed to cut benchmark interest rates and inject money into national economies to support businesses and help consumers regain their economic footing.