US stock markets started to erase previous gains and finished lower overnight as the rally faded by the end of the session amid a retreat in oil prices. After being up by 3% on average, major indexes closed marginally lower. The S&P 500 index fell 0.2%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.1%, and the Nasdaq slid 0.3%.
In Asia, stocks were mixed-to-negative on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained over 2% after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency to combat coronavirus infections in major population centers. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.86% after the rating agency S&P Global put the country’s triple-A credit rating on negative outlook, citing a “substantial deterioration” in the nation’s finances amid the coronavirus outbreak.
European stocks slipped as coronavirus worries reemerged while a meeting of finance ministers failed to reach agreement on a plan to fight the crisis. German finance minister Olaf Scholz expressed hopes for an agreement on finance measures before Easter and noted that EU partners agreed on the need for a recovery fund, with discussions being about deploying around €500 billion. The French CAC 40 dipped 1.86% after Bank of France predicted a massive slump in activity in the first quarter. According to the central bank’s estimates, the country’s economy shrank by 6% in the first quarter.
Meanwhile, dollar demand picks up after a short-lived bearish correction witnessed yesterday. As a result, EURUSD is back in the red, challenging the 1.0850 area ahead of the FOMC meeting minutes due later today. Once below this level, the common currency may threaten the 1.08 figure. USDJPY is nearly flat, still being stuck between the moving averages marginally below 109.00.
In other markets, bitcoin remains above the $7,000 handle but struggles to overcome the 50-DMA around $7,400. BTCUSD looks more stable these days, and should the prices manage to reclaim $7,000 as support, the digital currency may target the $8,000 figure if the bullish bias persists.