U.S. Futures Plunge As Japan Crisis Worsens; Dow Drops 2.24%

Forex Pros – U.S. stock futures pointed to a broadly lower open on Tuesday, tracking global equities lower as mounting fears over Japan’s escalating nuclear emergency prompted a selloff in risky assets.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures indicated a loss of 2.24%, the S&P 500 futures pointed to a drop of 2.7%, while Nasdaq 100 futures implied a loss of 3.05%.

Earlier in the day, Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan warned that radiation levels had become “significantly” higher around the Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant, following another explosion, this time at the stricken plant’s No. 2 reactor.

Shares of General Electric, which designed the crippled reactors at the Fukushima plant, tumbled 4.6% in premarket trading after India’s government broke off talks to purchase nuclear reactors from the company.

Utility providers linked to nuclear energy also performed poorly, as the largest owner of U.S. nuclear power plants Exelon dropped 2.9%, while Uranium Energy saw shares plummet 20.4% ahead of the open.

Meanwhile, the second largest U.S. chipmaker Texas Instruments saw shares drop 5.2% in pre-market trade after it said “substantial” damage to one of its plants in Japan from last week’s earthquake will hurt sales in the first and second quarters.

Across the sector, Intel saw shares tumble 2.9%, while shares of JDS Uniphase slumped 4.8% ahead of the open. 

In earnings news, home-furnishing retailer William-Sonoma reported a 22% jump in fourth quarter profit to USD113.4 million, while revenue in the quarter increased by 10% to USD1.2 billion.  

Also Tuesday, shares in the largest U.S. aluminium producer Alcoa slumped 3.8%, while copper producer Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold sank 4.05% after commodity prices retreated.

In Europe, the EURO STOXX 50 tumbled 4.02%, Germany’s DAX plunged 4.91%, while the FTSE 100 sank 2.65% in intraday trade.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed 2.86% lower, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index plunged 10.1%, suffering its worst two-day decline since 1987.

Earlier in the day, official data showed that manufacturing conditions in the New York-region rose more-than-expected in March, while import prices rose more-than-expected in February.

Later Tuesday, the Federal Reserve was to announce its federal funds rate.

ForexPros.com – Forex Pros offers a diverse set of professional tools for Forex, Futures and CFDs. These include real-time data streams, technical and fundamental analysis by in-house experts, and a widely used economic calendar and Forex News.

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