U.S. stock index futures fell on Monday as surging COVID-19 cases raised fears of more lockdowns, while media reports saying several global banks moved sums of allegedly illicit funds over nearly two decades hit U.S. banking stocks.
Shares of airlines, hotels and cruise operators led declines in premarket trading, tracking their European peers as the UK signalled the possibility of a second national lockdown.
Marriott International Inc, Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc and Hyatt Hotels Corp dropped between 1.5% and 3.6%, while casino operators Wynn Resorts Ltd, MGM Resorts International and Las Vegas Sands Corp shed between 2.7% and 6.0%.
Another round of business restrictions would also threaten a nascent recovery in the wider economy, analysts said, and could spark a flight from equities. The first round of lockdowns in March had led the benchmark S&P 500 to suffer its worst monthly decline since the global financial crisis.
The index has since rebounded, thanks to historic global stimulus, but is on track to halt a five-month winning streak as investors dump heavyweight technology-related stocks.
Companies including Apple Inc, Facebook Inc and Amazon.com Inc, which had dominated Wall Street's rally since April, slid between 1.5% and 2.6% in early deals.
At 7:10 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 542 points, or 1.96%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 54.5 points, or 1.64% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 159.75 points, or 1.46%.
Nikola Corp crashed 27.9% after its founder Trevor Milton stepped down as executive chairman, as the U.S. electric-truck maker battles allegations from a short-seller that it misled investors and automakers.
General Motors Co, which took an 11% stake in Nikola for about $2 billion earlier this month, slipped 3.7%.
Shares in JPMorgan Chase & Co and Bank of New York Mellon Corp fell 4% and 3.3%, respectively, after BuzzFeed and other media reported they and other banks moved large sums of allegedly illicit funds over nearly two decades despite red flags about the origins of the money.
Other big U.S. banks were also trading lower.
Reporting by Devik Jain and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva