Dow futures set for 2nd day of losses as COVID hospitalizations rise, fiscal package in doubt

Wall Street slows down at the end of the session and closes slightly higher
December 7, 2020
Dow, S&P 500 Retreat From Records
December 9, 2020

Dow futures set for 2nd day of losses as COVID hospitalizations rise, fiscal package in doubt

U.S. stock-index futures on Tuesday were trading lower after hospitalizations from COVID-19 hit a record on Monday and with progress toward another coronavirus aid package faltering as lawmakers in Washington push to carve out more time to negotiate a pact.

Investors were also watching the historic deployment of the COVID vaccine made by Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech to the U.K. population.

How are stock benchmarks performing?

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average

On Monday, the Nasdaq ended at a record but the broader market finished lower:

  • The Dow DJIA, -0.49% fell 148.47 points, or 0.5%, to end at 30,069.79
  • The S&P 500 SPX, -0.19% shed 7.16 points, or 0.2%, finishing at 3,691.96
  • The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.45% rose 55.71 points, or 0.5%, to a new closing record of 12,519.95.

What’s driving the market?

U.S. equities were likely to head south, with  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s, R-Ky., focus on protecting businesses from lawsuits related to COVID-19 lawsuits serving as a roadblock to a deal on fresh fiscal aid for American workers and businesses, according to reports.

A bipartisan group, led by Sen Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, is completing the language on a $908 billion package on Tuesday, even as McConnell continues to advocate for his own, slimmed down proposal, Politico reported.

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Meanwhile, U.S. hospitalizations due to coronavirus reached a fresh record on Monday, though the U.K. began its rollout of a coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, with 90-year-old Maggie Keenan the first person to receive the inoculation in the country.

The U.K’s vaccine rollout comes as the global tally for confirmed cases of coronavirus rose above 67.6 million on Tuesday, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University, while the death toll rose above 1.5 million. The U.S. has the highest case tally in the world at 14.9 million and the highest death toll at 283,746, or more than a fifth of the global total.

U.S. analysts were predicting a choppy session for stock prices Tuesday with daily new COVID cases rising further and a lack of further clarity on fiscal relief measures by Congress.

“In summary, we see a mixed market session as stimulus and COVID-19 19 worries keep investors on the sidelines,” wrote Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities, in a Tuesday note.

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Brexit is also on investors’ radars, as U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to travel to Brussels this week for a make-or-break meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on the remaining differences in negotiations to avoid a no-deal exit from the European Union, an event that could potentially roil markets anew.

In fact, market participants are looking ahead to a series of key events later in the week, including Thursday’s meeting of the European Central Bank, the start of the EU summit, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s review of COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

In economic reports, markets were watching for a revised reading of third-quarter productivity and labor costs at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

Which stocks were in focus?

  • Shares of Tesla IncTSLA, +7.13% dropped premarket Tuesday after the electric vehicle market leader filed for the sale of up to $5 billion worth of stock.
  • Shares of U.S. Steel X, +3.00% were in focus after it said it planned to acquire the remaining stake in Big River Steel for about $774 million from cash on hand.