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Futures Turn Positive After Fed Announces New Measures To Support Economy

wallstreet sep4 23mar20 lt

After coming under pressure overnight, stocks futures have shown a significant turnaround over the course of Monday morning. The major index futures are currently pointing to a sharply higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 345 points.

The rebound by the futures came after the Federal Reserve announced extensive new measures to support the economy during the coronavirus pandemic.

Citing the tremendous hardship being caused by the outbreak, the Fed said it is committed to using its full range of tools to support households, businesses, and the U.S. economy overall in this challenging time.

The measures announced today include an unlimited expansion of the Fed's asset purchases, with the central bank saying it will purchase Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities "in the amounts needed to support smooth market functioning and effective transmission of monetary policy to broader financial conditions and the economy."

The Fed had previously announced it would purchase at least $500 billion of Treasury securities and at least $200 billion of mortgage-backed securities.

The announcement from the Fed offset earlier selling pressure partly generated in reaction to news that a massive fiscal stimulus bill failed a key procedural vote in the Senate on Sunday.

Voting largely along party lines, the Senators voted 47 to 47 on the procedural motion, falling short of the 60 votes needed to advance the bill.

Democratic Senators voted against advancing the bill amid complaints that the legislation does too much to bail out companies and not enough to provide assistance to workers.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., accused Democrats of "fiddling with the emotions of the American people, fiddling with the markets" and "fiddling with our health care" and urged lawmakers to reach an agreement no later than today.

The latest developments come as data from Johns Hopkins University shows the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has climbed above 350,000 worldwide, with confirmed cases in the U.S. jumping above 35,000.

Stocks moved sharply lower over the course of the trading day last Friday, more than offsetting the gains posted on Thursday. With the pullback on the day, the Dow and the S&P 500 fell to three-year closing lows, while the Nasdaq hit its lowest closing level in over a year.

The major averages finished the session just off their worst levels of the day. The Dow plunged 913.21 points or 4.6 percent to 19,173.98, the Nasdaq tumbled 271.06 points or 3.8 percent to 6,879.52 and the S&P 500 plummeted 104.47 points or 4.3 percent to 2,304.92.

For the week, the Dow crashed by 17.3 percent, the Nasdaq nosedived by 12.6 percent and the S&P 500 tanked by 15 percent.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower on Monday. China's Shanghai Composite Index plunged by 3.1 percent and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index plummeted by 5.6 percent, although Japan's Nikkei 225 Index bucked the downtrend and jumped by 2 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is down by 1.8 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.6 percent and the German DAX Index is down by 0.2 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are inching up $0.04 to $22.67 a barrel after plunging $2.79 to $22.43 a barrel last Friday. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold is trading at $1,516.90, up $32.30 from the previous session's close of $1,484.60. On Friday, gold rose $5.30.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 110.31 yen compared to the 110.93 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Friday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.0763 compared to last Friday's $1.0688.

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