Stock futures tumble as flight to safety drops 10-year yield to lowest since February

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U.S. stock futures were under pressure Thursday as the spreading of COVID-19 variants sparked concerns over global growth. 

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 459 points, or 1.33%, while S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures declined 1.54% and 1.26%, respectively. Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite closed at all-time highs Wednesday. 

The sharp selloff in the stock market has driven investors into the bond market, pushing the benchmark 10-year yield down by 5 basis points to 1.27%, the lowest since Feb. 16. 

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In stocks, financials, which benefit from a steeper yield curve, were in the crosshairs. 

Carnival Corp. and Delta Airlines suffered amid concerns a rebound in COVID-19 cases could stunt demand for travel. 

Dow component Boeing Co. was lower for a fourth straight session following reports that a unit of Russian airliner Aeroflot canceled an order for 20 Boeing 737 Max jets. 

Other industrials, including Caterpillar Inc. and Freeport-McMoRan Inc., were also weaker.  

Meanwhile, chipmakers Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Nvidia Corp. struggled under growth concerns. 

Chinese tech stocks listed in the U.S. tumbled in early trading amid concerns Beijing will toughen measures on the sector. Didi Global Inc. shares have plunged 27% since Chinese regulators on July 1 announced an investigation into national data security risks at the company. 

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell 60 cents to $71.60 a barrel while gold jumped $15 to $1,817.60 an ounce. 

Overseas markets were sharply lower.

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In Europe, France’s CAC 40 and Germany’s DAX 30 declined 2.28% and 1.74%, respectively, after the European Central Bank tweaked its inflation target to 2% "over the medium term." The central bank will allow for inflation to run above the level for a brief time. 

Elsewhere in the region, Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 1.78%.

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 2.89%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 slid 0.88% and China’s Shanghai Composite slipped 0.79%. 

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