“A significant downturn is looming over the coming months, the only question is how deep it becomes”
Wall Street looked set to plunge at opening on Monday as a second emergency rate cut by the US Federal Reserve within two weeks intensified fears of recession.
S&P 500 futures EScv1 fell 4.77 percent to hit a daily down trading limit overnight, signaling the benchmark index .SPX could trigger a 15-minute cutout put in place to prevent another 1987 "Black Monday"-style crash.
The SPDR S&P 500 exchange traded fund (SPY.P) pointed to a bigger drop at the open, plummeting 10 percent after the Fed slashed short-term rates by another 100 basis points and pledged sweeping asset purchases.
The S&P 500 index, which hit the circuit breaker twice last week after a crash in oil prices and unexpected travel restrictions from Europe, has now lost nearly $6 trillion since its record closing high in mid-February.
"A significant downturn is looming over the coming months, the only question is how deep it becomes," said Neil Shearing, group chief economist at Capital Economics in London.
"As the scale of the economic and market disruption wrought by the coronavirus becomes clear, it seems likely that investors will increasingly start to question whether policymakers have already exhausted their capacity to respond."
Central banks in Japan, Australia and New Zealand joined the Fed in announcing dramatic monetary easing in a coordinated effort not seen since the 2008 financial crisis, but could not shore up global investor sentiment.
World stocks tumbled nearly 2 percent, oil prices slumped 10 percent and even safe-haven gold took a hit as France and Spain joined Italy in entering virtual lockdown to contain the fast-spreading disease. Bars, restaurants, theaters and movie houses in New York and Los Angeles were ordered shut.
Retailers Nike Inc (NKE.N), Lululemon Athletica Inc (LULU.O) and Under Armour Inc (UAA.N) said they would close stores, sending their shares down more than 8.5 percent.
At 8:16 am ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were down 1,041 points, or 4.53 percent. S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were down 128.5 points, or 4.77 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were down 359.75 points, or 4.54 percent.
S&P 500 ETFs (SPY.P) tanked to their lowest since December 2018.
Shares of lenders America Corp (BAC.N), JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) and Citigroup (C.N) fell between 14 percent and 17 percent in premarket trading.
The big US banks will stop buying back shares and use that capital to lend to individuals and businesses affected by the coronavirus, an industry trade group said.
Tech heavyweights such Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) were together set to lose over $400 billion in market value.
The airline sector, among the worst hit by the virus outbreak, took another beating on Monday as United Airlines Holdings Inc's (UAL.O) March revenue fell $1.5 billion and the airline warned employees that planes could be flying nearly empty into the summer.
Shares of United Airlines, Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) and American Airlines Group Inc (AAL.O) slumped between 15 percent and 19 percent, while cruise line operators Carnival Corp (CCL.N), Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL.N) dropped more than 13 percent.
Shares in oil majors Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) and Chevron Corp (CVX.N) dropped more than 10 percent as US crude fell below $30.