Stock futures trade cautiously amid uncertainty over the coronavirus outbreak

The S&P 500 has rallied nearly 19% since hitting a low on March 23

Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox.  Sign up here.

Continue Reading Below

The major futures indexes are bouncing between gains and losses, searching for direction.

Tuesday's rally on Wall Street suddenly vanished in a market dominated by sharp swings responding to the ups and downs of the news about the coronavirus pandemic.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES27173.96+358.52+1.34%
SP500S&P 5003298.46+51.87+1.60%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX10913.561787+241.30+2.26%

The S&P 500 dipped 0.2 percent to 2,659.41 after erasing a surge of 3.5 percent earlier in the day. The market’s gains faded as the price of U.S. crude oil abruptly flipped from a gain to a steep loss of more than 9 percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1 percent to 22,653.86, giving up an earlier gain of 937 points. The Nasdaq composite dropped 3 percent to 7,887.26.

GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE

Benchmark U.S. crude oil surged 3.6 percent or 86 cents to $24.48 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 22 cents to $32.09.

In European markets, London's FTSE fell 1.6 percent, Germany's DAX traded 1.1 percent lower and France's CAC dropped 1.7 percent.

In Asia on Wednesday, Japan's Nikkei rose 2 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 1.2 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite dipped 0.2 percent.

Japan's state of emergency kicked in, focused on seven urban areas, including Tokyo, with strong government requests for people to stay home and restaurants and stores to close for a month. However, there were scant signs of any change in behavior during the morning rush hour.

Experts say more deaths are on the way due to COVID-19, which has already claimed at least 82,000 lives around the world.

The U.S. leads the world in confirmed cases with more than 398,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

More economic misery is also on the horizon. Economists expect a report on Thursday to show that 5 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week as layoffs sweep the country. That would bring the total to nearly 15 million over the past three weeks.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS

Analysts also expect big companies in upcoming weeks to report their worst quarter of profit declines in more than a decade.The

Associated Press contributed to this article.