Stock futures flat, with states’ reopening plans in focus

Stock futures were flat to slightly higher as the overnight session kicked off Monday evening, as investors continued to eye states’ reopening plans and mulled recent corporate earnings results.

Earlier, stocks ended a choppy session mixed, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq modestly positive on the day. Big tech shares outperformed, as investors bet on these companies’ resilience even as the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing measures to contain it remained ongoing. After ending Monday’s session higher, the Nasdaq was up for six straight sessions – its longest winning streak so far in 2020.

In New York, the domestic epicenter of the virus, Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a briefing Monday that certain regions of the state will be ready to begin to resume business operations later this week, including construction, retail with curbside pickup, drive-in theaters and certain recreational activities. The reopenings, however, will not yet apply to New York City. Mayor Bill De Blasio said Monday the city’s lockdown will likely extend into June.

New York state as a whole counted 1,660 new cases on Sunday for the lowest new case count since mid-March. Its 161 new deaths for the day were the least since the end of March.

In earnings statements and calls so far for the latest reported quarter, some executives highlighted a pick-up in consumer demand for goods and services from the doldrums of March, sparking hopes that business conditions were becoming at least somewhat less grim for some major corporations. These glimmers of optimism, however, mostly came alongside massive plunges in quarterly operating results, suggesting a return back to prior levels will take time.

Marriott International (MAR), a company in one of the hardest-hit industries as the pandemic all but wiped out global travel, said in an earnings statement Monday that “lodging demand in most of the rest of the world has stabilized, albeit at very low levels,” with occupancy in North America around 20% over the past two weeks. Marriott’s revenue per available room, which measures both room prices and occupancy levels, was down 90% in April.

Late last week, Uber (UBER) CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said during an earnings call that the ride-hailing company began seeing a sustained pick-up in demand for rides in mid-April, with growth up most substantially in states including Georgia and Texas, which have already begun reopening their economies.

Separately, the CEO of online real estate database Zillow (Z) last week said during the company’s earnings call that “the real estate market is predominantly open, and it’s clear that we have passed peak fear.”

While the earnings calendar remains light for Tuesday, investors will receive economic data including the NFIB Small Business Optimism April survey results, as well as the Department of Labor’s April consumer price index.

6:08 p.m. ET Monday: Stock futures flat

Here were the main moves at the start of the overnight session for U.S. equity futures, as of 6:08 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): up 0.25 points, or 0.01%, to 2,923.00

  • Dow futures (YM=F): up 14 points, or 0.06%, to 24,138.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): up 12.25 points, or 0.13%, to 9,291.25

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 11: A person explains how the food line operates for food donated by SOMOS, in partnership with World Central Kitchen and Maestro Cares Foundation on May 11, 2020 in the Elmhurst neighborhood in the Queens borough in New York City. Some people who waited since 6 am stated that this Monday food distribution is popular because raw fruits and vegetables to cook are given out, not only pre-made meals. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

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