Stock futures fall as investors seek stimulus to combat virus spread

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures were down 2% on Wednesday after strong gains in the previous session, with investors growing frustrated about the lack of details on fiscal stimulus floated by President Donald Trump to combat the coronavirus epidemic.

Wall Street jumped nearly 5% on Tuesday, driven by expectations that Trump would discuss a payroll tax cut and announce other “major” stimulus measures at a news conference.

While Trump met with fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, he did not outline any steps to bolster domestic economic growth.

Any plan the White House introduces will need to be approved by both houses of the U.S. Congress.

Futures also shrugged off a surprise move by the Bank of England to cut interest rates and support bank lending, which had lifted sentiment in Europe and Asia overnight. [MKTS/GLOB]

At 6:31 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were down 526 points, or 2.12%. S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were down 66 points, or 2.3% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were down 187 points, or 2.24%.

The three main indexes came within a hair’s breadth of confirming bear market territory, implying a drop of 20% from record highs, on Monday following a collapse in oil prices. The S&P 500 .SPX is now about 15% below its all-time high hit just three weeks earlier.

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