Global stocks slump amid PMI woes

Business | Agencies and Stella Zhai 2 Apr 2020

Global shares plunged again on worries of the worsening virus situation and the weakening economy as the Purchasing Managers' Index tumbled in many economies.

American equity futures slumped along with stocks in Europe and Asia, with those on the S&P 500 sliding as much as 4 percent before the market opened, while the Stoxx Europe 600 dropped broadly even after the European Union unveiled plans to save jobs during the crisis.

Meanwhile, homeowners in the United States are seeking refinancing opportunities, with the index tracked by the US Mortgage Bankers Association rising 25.5 percent last week.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Futures continued to drop after the Hang Seng Index closed 517 points lower at 23,085 points. Mainland A-shares also fell, with the SSE Composite Index ending 0.57 percent lower. Onshore yuan weakened by 127 basis points to a one-week low of 7.1058 per US dollar as the market closed.

Standard Chartered Hong Kong said stocks could drop further with the development of the pandemic, but expected the Hang Seng Index to find its supporting level at its previous low of 21,300 points, as stocks already have relatively low valuation and are expected to benefit from stimulating measures by the mainland government.

In other news, factory activity in the Eurozone and Japan worsened, with their March PMI hitting the lowest in 7.5 years and 11 years, respectively.

And China's Caixin/Markit Manufacturing PMI rose to 50.1 last month, but the bare minimal growth highlighted the intense pressure facing businesses as the global coronavirus pandemic shuts down many countries.

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