U.S stock futures are down on Tuesday as Eurozone debt crisis fears intensified on authorities’ inability to step up and calm the situation.
Futures on the S&P 500 are down 0.83 percent at 9:00 a.m. ET, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are down 0.84 percent, and futures on the NASDAQ Composite are down 0.59 percent.
The euro has plunged against the U.S. dollar, dropping to the lowest level since January of this year, as investors fled from uncertainty of the Eurozone to the safety of the U.S.
Eurozone Finance ministers discussed on Monday possible methods to increase the firepower of the Eurozone bailout fund, did not make a decision on the next tranche of bailout funds to Greece, and raised the possibility of the private sector (e.g. banks) taking a bigger haircut on Greek debt.
The bottom line is that Eurozone authorities did not calm the market. If anything, they spooked investors with the specter of steeper private sector loses on Greek bonds, which could prove to be devastating for vulnerable and under-capitalized European banks.
“Europeans are failing to step up in a material way to resolve the issues in the banking sector and in Greece. The result of this protracted Chinese water torture way of dealing with things is that markets are frustrated and pricing in the worst, as they should,” wrote Brad Bechtel of Faros Trading in a research note.
Bechtel noted that Goldman Sachs and Standard and Poor’s indicated a rising risk of a double-dip recession in Germany and Europe, respectively.
The cost of insuring German government bonds against default hit a record high on Tuesday, reflecting fears and expectations of Germany’s increasing liability in bailing out Greece, according to Reuters.
In the U.S., Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke is scheduled to testify on the economic outlook and the Fed’s monetary policy before Congress at 10 a.m. ET.