Business

Stock futures sink as oil rout shows no signs of abating

NEW YORK: U.S. stock index futures fell sharply on Wednesday, tracking global markets, as crude oil prices tumbled to new lows and fears of slowing global growth continued to gnaw at investors.

U.S. crude wallowed at its lowest since 2003 and Brent crude fell to near 12-year lows. The IEA, the world’s energy watchdog, warned the market could “drown in oversupply.”

European stocks slid to their lowest since October 2014 and were set for biggest fall of the year so far, while Japan’s Nikkei slid into bear market territory.

The U.S. market has been roiled this year due to slumping oil prices and weak economic data out of China, the world’s second-largest economy and a key market for major U.S. companies.

The S&P 500 has fallen 8 percent so far this year, wiping off more than $1.4 trillion, while global markets have lost $4.2 trillion, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Still, the S&P currently trades at 14.9 times forward earnings, slightly higher than its 10-year median of 14.7, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine.

Concerns regarding the state of the global economy has taken some attention away from fourth-quarter U.S. corporate earnings, which is expected to fall 4.4 percent.

Shares of IBM were down 4.6 percent at $122.25 premarket after the tech major forecast weak earnings.

Apple and Microsoft were also down about 2 percent.

Netflix was up 3.8 percent at $112 after its subscriber base grew more-than-expected.

Data due on Wednesday includes core Consumer Price Index, which excludes food and energy. The index likely gained 0.2 percent in December, unchanged from November. The data is expected at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Dow e-minis were down 314 points, or 1.97 percent, with 67,005 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis were down 36.5 points, or 1.95 percent, with 402,238 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 88 points, or 2.12 percent, on volume of 72,588 contracts.

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