March 2, 2020 / 1:54 PM / a month ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks cling to stimulus hopes, Treasuries slide towards 1%

(Updates ahead of U.S. markets open)

* European shares buckle again after early charge

* Wall Street futures back to flat after earlier rise

* U.S. Treasury yields slide towards 1% for first time

* BOJ and BoE make soothing noises

* Oil higher on signals of supply cuts from OPEC

By Marc Jones

LONDON, March 2 (Reuters) - World stock markets regained a measure of calm on Monday as hopes for a raft of global interest rate cuts to soften the economic blow of the coronavirus steadied nerves and drove U.S. Treasury yields close to 1%.

After last week's worst plunge for equities markets since the depths of the 2008 financial crisis, it was always going to be a wild ride.

Asia had initially dived again after China reported a record slump in factory activity but the region rallied to finish higher as bond yields sunk and talk of OPEC supply cuts sent oil prices roaring up as much 3.5%.

Europe then made a blistering start. The FTSEurofirst 300 jumped over 2%, putting it on course for its best day in well over a year, only to suffer a major mid-morning wobble that left it just 0.2% better off.

Wall Street S&P 500 and Dow futures went on a similarly erratic trip; first diving, then springing, then stumbling and eventually stalling near-flat.

"The market is coming back because there is perception that there will be a coordinated G7 policy response," said BlueBay Asset Management's head of credit strategy David Riley.

"We have Fed and ECB meetings coming up in the next couple of weeks. The Fed is the key one and it will be very hard for them to hold off (from rate cuts) if we are in a situation where the economic downsides are becoming more prevalent."

The sheer scale of losses last week -- almost $6 trillion was wiped off world stocks -- have led financial markets to price in policy responses from almost every major central bank.

Futures now imply a full 50 basis point cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve at its March 17-18 meeting, followed by a 10 basis point snip from the ECB in April. Australian markets are meanwhile pricing in a quarter-point cut at the RBA's Tuesday meeting.

Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda fanned those expectations, saying the BOJ would take steps to stabilise markets if needed.

The Bank of England said it, too, was monitoring developments and assessing the "potential impacts on the global and UK economies and financial systems".

Bets that the Fed will be first of the pack to move -- and probably by the most, considering it has more room to cut --pushed the dollar to a one-month low against the world's major currencies as bond yields slid south.

Individually, it was down at $1.1070 to the euro, flat on the yen at 108.08 yen and only made gains on the pound, which wilted as what are likely to be fraught post-Brexit trade talks with the EU began in Brussels.

JUST ANOTHER MANIC MONDAY

MSCI's broadest index of world shares rose for the first time in eight sessions after recovering from Asia's early dip, though the 0.3% uptick barely offset its 10.4% tumble last week.

The disruption to global supply chains, productivity and global travel caused by the coronavirus has darkened the outlook for a world economy already struggling with the fallout of the U.S.-China trade war.

In Paris, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) warned the outbreak was shaping up to cause the worst global downturn since the 2008-09 financial crisis. In a bleak scenario, growth could drop to just 1.5%.

"The main message from this downside scenario is that it would put many countries into a recession, which is why we are urging measures to be taken in the affected areas as quickly as possible," OECD chief economist Laurence Boone told Reuters.

The bond markets were giving their view loud and clear.

The benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury bond hit a fresh record low yield of 1.0300% overnight and was last at 1.065%. In Europe, German Bunds were the lowest in six months at -0.64%.

Analysts said a sustained market recovery depended on the rate of new coronavirus infections slowing outside China.

The epidemic, which began in the Chinese province of Hubei, has killed 3,000 people worldwide as authorities race to contain infections in Japan, Iran, Italy, South Korea and the United States.

Commodity markets were part of Monday's global stabilisation. Oil prices bounced as much as $1.5 a barrel off multi-year lows, helped by hopes of a deeper cut in output by OPEC.

Brent crude last traded at $50.5 per barrel and U.S. crude at $45.2 per barrel, while industrial metals copper and nickel were 1.5% and 2.5% higher respectively and gold jumped 1.4% after a dip last week.

Additional reporting by Anshuman Daga in Singapore and Swati Pandey in Sydney; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Catherine Evans

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