European markets were lower, Treasuries went on another slide, and futures suggested Wall Street would sink when trading opens on Thursday — all signs that investors remain worried about the how coronavirus outbreak is affecting the global economy.
Asian markets told a different story earlier on Thursday. They closed higher, keeping pace with investors in the United States, who had pushed stock prices up the day before in the wake of this week’s Democratic primary results.
But the news about coronavirus’s spread is relentless, including reports that a cruise ship off the West Coast has passengers showing symptoms of the disease and that the governor of California had declared a state of emergency.
And so pessimism appears to be back in control in European markets. In late-morning trading, the Britain’s FTSE 100 was 1.8 percent lower, and the DAX in Germany lost 1.5 percent.
The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes again fell below 1 percent on Thursday. The 10-year notes had never fallen that low until earlier this week, and they briefly rebounded on Wednesday, but the recovery was short-lived. Investors tend to buy up the 10-year notes, pushing the yield down, when they need a safe place to put their money.
The price of oil varied through the day, first rising and then falling 0.8 percent, ahead of a meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna on Thursday.
Earlier, Hong Kong led a broad rise in markets in the Asia-Pacific region, followed by stocks in mainland China.
The mixed signals in stocks followed a banner day on Wall Street, which has been buffeted for more than a week by worsening news about the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The new coronavirus has led countries to tighten their borders and has snarled the world’s supply chains, raising increasingly urgent questions about the health of the global economy.
But Wall Street found reason to cheer on Wednesday after the strong showing of Joseph R. Biden Jr., in Democratic primary elections in a number of American states. His top rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, has fiercely criticized the banking system and has proposed taxes on stock and bond trades. The S&P 500 closed up more than 4 percent on Wednesday, recovering its coronavirus-related losses from Tuesday.