(Reuters) -U.S. stock index futures fell more than 1% on Thursday as the growing spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant cast doubts over an economic recovery, while a rout in Chinese technology stocks appeared to have spilled over.
Investors globally turned risk averse, sending equities lower and bond prices rallying on worries about Beijing’s crackdown on foreign-listed Chinese firms and a sustained global economic recovery.
Didi Global Inc, whose app takedown by China sparked a recent selloff, fell 5.8%.
U.S.-listed Chinese stocks tumbled in premarket trading, tracking steep losses in China and Hong Kong, with e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd sliding 2.7% and internet search engine Baidu Inc down 3.7%.
Atlanta Federal Reserve President Raphael Bostic warned on Wednesday that a spike in the highly infectious coronavirus variant could hamper a U.S. economic recovery.
Minutes of the central bank’s June meeting released on Wednesday showed the Fed officials felt a U.S. recovery had a long way to go.
The CBOE Volatility index, also known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, jumped 3.1 points to its highest level in over two weeks.
Stocks that led much of Wall Street’s rally this year and those that stand to benefit the most from an economic rebound were under pressure.
U.S. banks Citigroup Inc, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Wells Fargo & Co and Bank of America Corp lost between 1.9% and 2.8%, tracking a fall in the 10-year Treasury yield to 1.25%. [US/]
Energy shares such as Exxon Mobil Corp, Devon Energy Corp, Schlumberger NV, Halliburton Co and Occidental Petroleum Corp fell between 1.8% and 2.8%. [O/R]
Technology stocks that are typically favored in a low-rate environment also slipped, with the FAANG group of shares dropping between 1.3% and 1.7%.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq notched record closing highs on Wednesday, after the Fed minutes indicated officials may not be ready yet to move on tightening policy.
Investor focus is now on weekly jobless claims data, due at 08:30 a.m. ET, for clues on whether the labor market continues to heal amid signs of worker shortages.
At 7:31 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 470 points, or 1.36%. S&P 500 e-minis were down 58 points, or 1.33%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 196.5 points, or 1.33%.
Tesla Inc declined 2.3% after the electric-vehicle maker said it sold fewer China-made vehicles in June compared with May.
Reporting by Ambar Warrick and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Shounak Dasgupta