Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were trading down 312 points, or -1.04%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite were lower by 1.21% and 1.05% respectively.
The recently discovered COVID-19 strain, which could be up to 70% more transmissible than the original, caused British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to impose stricter lockdowns.
This as both the House and Senate were set to vote on a $900 billion stimulus package that would deliver $600 direct payments to individuals, extended unemployment benefits and additional paycheck protection loans for small businesses.
Looking at stocks, airlines and cruise operators were under pressure as the new COVID-19 strain threatened renewed fear of widespread travel restrictions.
Elsewhere, Tesla Inc. was set to open sharply lower after shares were added to the S&P 500 following Friday’s closing bell. The Elon Musk-led electric-vehicle maker makes up 1.69% of the index and is the eighth-largest member.
Oil majors Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. were lower as West Texas Intermediate crude oil plunged $2.29 to $46.81 per barrel.
On the upside, financials including J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Bank of America, Citigroup Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group were on the rise after the Federal Reserve said late Friday that banks could resume buying back shares after programs were suspended in June amid COVID-19-related concerns.
In earnings, Nike Inc. reported quarterly results that topped Wall Street estimates, boosted by the sneaker giant’s first $2 billion quarter in China and 84% year-over-year digital sales growth.
European markets were weaker across the board with Germany’s DAX trading lower by 3%, France’s CAC down 2.98% and Britain’s FTSE 100 falling 2.57%.
Asian markets finished mixed with China’s Shanghai Composite index climbing 0.76%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipping 0.18% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropping 0.72%.