Asian markets are signaling the plight of investors in the face of the epidemic.
Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region fell generally and massively on Thursday as there are signs that the coronavirus epidemic will have a dramatic impact on the global economy.
Stocks in Japan fell more than 5% at noon, while stocks in Australia led the region’s slump with a fall of more than 6%. Futures markets have also reported catastrophic openings for Wall Street and European stocks.
The fall was pulled by sharp decline on Wall Street on Wednesday, but it has worsened considerably following a series of late news from the United States. President Trump said on Wednesday that the United States would arrest most Europeans outside of Britain to travel the country for 30 days in an effort to slow the spread. The State Department has advised Americans to reconsider all international travel. A collaborator from the United States Senate has been positive. National Basketball Association suspended his season after a player has tested positive.
With global growth at stake, investors have been looking for world leaders to intervene to maintain the economic gears. Trump said on Wednesday that he would extend financial relief for sick workers and demand more from Congress. Britain has said it will spend more than $ 30 billion. Central banks are cutting interest rates.
So far, for investors, this has not been enough.
Prices for 10-year US Treasuries, a traditional haven for investors, jumped Thursday in Asian trade, helping to keep yields at historic lows.
Oil prices fell more than 5%, shaken both by a clash between Saudi Arabia and Russia over excessive production and by the fear that the world simply does not need to as much fuel as it was before.
Among the stock markets, in Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index fell 5.2% in midday trading. The Australian S & P / ASX 200 index fell 6.3%.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 3.6%. In mainland China, the Shanghai composite index fell 1%.
The heavy liquidation highlights fears that Washington’s response will not be enough.
Stocks plunged on Wednesday as the Dow Jones industrial average fell in a bear market, a decline that reflected investors’ fear that Washington could not collect an answer to the economic crisis triggered by the spread of the coronavirus.
A bear market begins when stocks have fallen 20% from their peak. Although this is a somewhat arbitrary threshold, in the financial markets, the designation recognizes what many investors surely feel – that trading based on fear on the stock market will not end soon.
In the United States, the last time stocks were in a bear market, it was at the height of the financial crisis more than a decade ago.
The S&P 500 fell nearly 5% on Wednesday, while the Dow Jones fell nearly 6%. Since its peak in February, the S&P 500 is down 19%, while the Dow Jones is down 20%.
Stocks turned around this week as investors hesitated between the threat the coronavirus poses to the global economy and the hope that governments around the world will unveil a series of measures to help businesses. Wednesday, officials from the World Health Organization officially designated the spread of coronavirus like a global pandemic.
President Trump reported he would consider ways to stimulate the economy, and lawmakers and government officials spent the day Wednesday describing their possible steps. Options include reducing payroll taxes and extending the Deadline for filing U.S. tax returns on April 15. But so far, the White House has not announced any specific measures, and most experts believe that lower payroll taxes are not an effective way to tackle economic problems.
“What we have seen in the past 36 hours is hope for something from a fiscal policy point of view, then this feeling that it is not going to come, or it is not thought of, so I think that’s the disappointment right now, “said William Delwiche, investment strategist at Baird, an investment banking and fund management company based in Milwaukee.
The vast majority of people who contract the virus are unlikely to be fatal, providing little comfort to the financial markets. On the contrary, the concern is that efforts to contain the spread of the disease caused by the virus will certainly slow down the global economy and corporate profits.
Chinese hackers exploit the fears of viruses.
Criminals and hackers of nation states are taking advantage of the coronavirus epidemic to commit fraud and steal sensitive data.
In the past two weeks, two well-known Chinese state hacking groups have lured employees of major telecommunications companies and government agencies in Asia to download fake documents believed to contain critical information about the coronaviruses, three said. cybersecurity companies.
Two Californian companies, Crowdstrike and FireEye, and the Israeli company Check Point confirmed this week that the Chinese groups sent documents on the subject of coronaviruses loaded with malware. So far, the breaches have focused on targets in Vietnam, Mongolia and the Philippines.
FireEye reported that Russian hackers used legitimate coronavirus update documents to target entities in Ukraine, and that North Korean hackers used coronavirus information as bait to target a southern non-governmental organization -Korean.
Security researchers are concerned that the campaigns may be an early warning of cyber attacks that could strike the United States. “We see cybercriminals and Chinese groups jumping on the coronavirus,” said Adam Meyers, threat intelligence officer at Crowdstrike. “People have to be aware of what’s coming.”
Criminals have also used coronavirus cards to trick people into downloading hacking tools that can be used for everything from stealing usernames and passwords to downloading ransomware. They sent what appears to be an interactive map of coronavirus infections from Johns Hopkins University to entice victims to click.
For now, the attacks have been largely limited to Asia, said Meyers, but the American victims are vulnerable. He said that with global fears of an increase in the coronavirus, the virus will undoubtedly be used for “big game hunting”, taking advantage of employees of large companies to demand larger payments.
European nations are presenting emergency relief plans.
Governments across Europe have announced emergency spending plans to support businesses facing loss of income and those who have lost income due to the epidemic.
Great Britain: The country’s new budget, released on Wednesday, includes a 30 billion pound (about $ 39 billion) fiscal stimulus package, including tax breaks for businesses, additional funds for the National Health Service and sickness benefits more generous.
Italy: Government spends 25 billion euros ($ 28 billion) to help businesses and individuals, potentially including broader unemployment benefits and assistance to parents forced to miss work. Details are expected on Friday.
Spain: The country’s economic measures are expected to be announced on Thursday, including support for tourism and transportation and families caring for out-of-school children.
Germany: The government has announced a spending program of 12.4 billion euros ($ 14 billion), and it will increase subsidies to avoid layoffs; infrastructure spending will increase and state banks will lend to small businesses facing short-term sales declines.
France: Businesses affected by the epidemic were offered funding to pay short-time unemployment benefits, as well as relaxed credit conditions. Suppliers will not be penalized for non-compliance with public contracts.
The demand for mortgage refinancing increases as interest rates fall.
Consumers baffled by the troubles caused by the coronavirus on Wall Street can focus on one positive point, at least: lowering mortgage rates.
The rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to around 3.74% and the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday that refinancing requests jumped 79% last week.
The index following refinancing activity reached its highest level since 2009, the worst of the financial crisis, and there was an almost equally robust increase in demand for new mortgages.
If interest rates remain low, the association said it expected refinancing activity to surpass last year’s levels by 37%.
The best refinancing offers may not be the ones found on lender websites or on mortgage lead generation websites run by companies like Bankrate, Lendingtree and Zillow.
“Very rarely does a borrower get the rate advertised on an aggregator website,” said Rick Sharga, founder of mortgage and real estate consulting firm CJ Patrick. “What we hear is that some companies are pricing themselves out of the market to slow the flow of leads, especially for people who are just shopping for rates.”
Even the website for Wells Fargo listed the prevailing rate for refinancing on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 4.25 percent – well above the rate quoted by the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Walter Schmidt, director of the mortgage strategy group at FHN Financial, said the posted rates were probably higher than they actually were, and he had heard that good customers get better rates by dealing directly with the banks that underwrite their existing mortgages.
Here’s what else is going on.
Actor Tom Hanks said Wednesday that he and his wife, Rita Wilson, learned that they had coronavirus. The 63-year-old Oscar winner is in Australia, where he was to make a film about the life of Elvis Presley.