European Markets in Freefall Tuesday  

European stock exchanges are in a slump Tuesday, as the historic drop in U.S. crude oil prices the day before continues to send shockwaves through the global economy.   London’s FTSE exchange is down 1.7% in late-morning trading, while the CAC-40 in Paris and Frankfurt’s DAX index are both down 1.9%,   A woman wearing face mask walks past a bank electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index at Hong Kong Stock Exchange, April 21, 2020.Tuesday’s drop began in Asian, with Japan’s Nikkei index losing 1.9% at the closing bell, while Australia’s S&P/ASX lost 2.5%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong plunged 2.2%, and Seoul’s KOSPI lost a full one percent. Shanghai’s benchmark closed 0.9% lower.  The negative trading in Asia and Europe seems likely to spill over onto Wall Street later in the day, with the S&P, Dow Jones and Nasdaq all down in futures trading.   In oil futures trading, the U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil was trading near $12 per barrel for the second straight day, providing a welcome relief for investors who saw the price plunge to $-37.63 per barrel Monday, the first time in history the price of U.S. crude has dropped below $0 per barrel.   Economic activity has ground to a halt worldwide amid the coronavirus pandemic, wiping out demand for gas and causing such a massive glut of oil that producers may have to pay their customers to take the excess supply off their hands.  Meanwhile, international benchmark Brent crude was trading at $19.50 per barrel, down 6.4%.    

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