Asian Markets Reverse Course Thursday, Ending Two Days of Solid Gains

Asian financial markets slid into negative territory Thursday despite the U.S. Senate’s passage of a massive $2 trillion economic rescue package to blunt the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei lost 4.5 percent by the end of the day’s trading session, while Hang Seng in Hong Kong and Seoul’s KOSPI both fell just more than 1 percent and Shanghai’s index lost just over one-half of 1 percent.

Australia’s S&P/ASX ending on a positive note with gains over 2 percent.

The falloff spread into Europe as the day progressed, with London’s FTSE down nearly 3 percent and both Germany’s DAX index and France’s CAC 40 down just over 2 percent in early morning trading.

U.S. stock futures are also into negative territory, with the Dow and Nasdaq down well over 1.5 percent, and the S&P 500 down 2 percent.

Investors are bracing themselves for Thursday’s release of unemployment claims in the United States, which will cover the period since the COVID-19 outbreak first took hold in the world’s biggest economy. Economists anticipate the number of unemployment claims will be in the millions, the highest ever on record.