Global shares slid from record highs, and US equity futures stumbled on Friday, halting a rally fueled by stimulus hopes, amid renewed investor concern about tighter, extended coronavirus restrictions after Hong Kong announced it would lock down 150 residential buildings in an “unprecedented” bid to contain an outbreak of covid, coupled with Joe Biden’s warning that U.S. deaths will hit 500,000 next month. Treasuries edged up and the dollar strengthened for the first time this week. Bitcoin rebounded sharply overnight, rising as high as $32,000 after tumbling almost 20% on Thursday and sliding below $29,000.
S&P futures were down 0.8%, or 29 points, to 3,817. Among the top movers were Intel which beat on EPS and revenue making gains just before the close before paring to trade lower by 4% in the pre-market after the company unveiled plans to keep chip production in house until 2023 while IBM tumbled 8.2% in premarket trading on Friday, after it reported fourth-quarter revenue that missed expectations. Analysts were broadly disappointed by the results, which was seen as the latest sign of weak growth prospects. Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks extended losses in premarket trading on Friday, with Bitcoin holding steady under $32,000 during a week that saw a drop of about 13% for the digital asset.
The risk-off mood followed a period of relief after the transition of power in the United States, culminating in Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday and strong expectations that U.S. stimulus will provide continued support for global assets. President Joe Biden, who is pushing for $1.9 trillion in additional spending, unveiled a strategy to combat the virus while warning the pandemic will worsen before it improves. Restrictions intensified from Germany and the U.K. to Hong Hong, and the European Central Bank cautioned that the euro area is headed for a double-dip recession.