Futures slide on renewed U.S.-China tensions

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures slid on Monday on growing tensions between Washington and Beijing over the origin of the novel coronavirus.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday there was “a significant amount of evidence” that the coronavirus emerged from a Chinese laboratory, but did not dispute U.S. intelligence agencies’ conclusion that it was not man-made.

Pompeo’s statement comes after Wall Street started May on a grim note as President Donald Trump revived a threat of new tariffs against China in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The S&P 500 index’s .SPX 29% recovery from its March lows stands to be tested as investors weigh renewed trade tensions and the health crisis with the gradual reopening of businesses.

Shares of Delta Air Lines (DAL.N), American Airlines Co (AAL.O), Southwest Airlines Co (LUV.N) and United Airlines (UAL.O) slumped between 6.6% and 9.5% in premarket trading as Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N) sold its entire stakes in the four-largest U.S. airlines in April.

At 6:14 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were down 254 points, or 1.08%. S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were down 24.25 points, or 0.86% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were down 63.25 points, or 0.73%.

Investors are also awaiting factory orders data for March, which is expected to show a sharp decline.

SPDR S&P 500 ETFs (SPY.P) were down 1%.

The S&P 500 index closed down 2.80% at 2,830.71 on Friday.

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