Stock futures fall on COVID concerns, Europe faces lockdowns

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U.S. equity futures are pointing to more selling when the Wednesday session begins on Wall Street.

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The major futures indexes suggest a decline of 1.5%, or more than 400 Dow points.

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With Tuesday's decline, the Dow Industrials have fallen in four of the last five sessions.

Markets continue to worry about rising numbers of coronavirus infections and Washington's inability to deliver more aid to the economy. Europe is expected to take more drastic measures to curb coronavirus.

Reuters is reporting France was mulling a month-long national lockdown to combat a surge in coronavirus infections.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is pressing for a partial lockdown in Germany as the number of newly recorded infections in the country hit another record high.

In Europe, London's FTSE fell 2.1%, Germany's DAX dropped 3.1% and France's CAC is down 3.1%.

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The uncertainty surrounding the upcoming U.S. election also has market players hesitant to make big moves.

Wednesday’s earnings procession will feature three Dow members: Boeing in the morning, and Amgen and Visa after the closing bell. Before the market opens we’ll also get results from health insurer Anthem, multinational conglomerate General Electric, agribusiness and food giant Bunge Limited, and defense contractor General Dynamics.

In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 0.3%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.3% and China's Shanghai Composite gained 0.5%.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES27463.19-222.19-0.80%
SP500S&P 5003390.68-10.29-0.30%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX11431.350522+72.41+0.64%

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 fell 0.3% to 3,390.68. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.8% to 27,463.19. However, the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite rose 0.6%.

Caution continues to hang over markets. Governments have begun to impose restrictions on businesses and other activities to help curb surging infections. That could choke off improvements seen since the summer. Fresh pandemic precautions are also drawing a public backlash despite spiking levels of illness in European countries.

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Investors are clamoring for Congress to deliver more virus relief for the U.S. economy, but they’re increasingly acknowledging it won’t happen anytime soon.

Wall Street's caution is also apparent in how it's reacting to corporate profit reports. Through the first two weeks of earnings season, companies that reported better results than expected have not been getting the typical pop in their stock price the day after.

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In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude lost $1.27 or more than 3% to $38.29 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $1.01 to $39.57 per barrel on Tuesday.

Brent crude, the international standard, fell $1.09 to $40.11 a barrel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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