Stock futures open higher, Dow futures gain 200+ points

Stock futures jumped Monday evening, pacing toward advances Tuesday when traders return from the Memorial Day holiday weekend in the U.S. Contracts on each of the S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq rose more than 1% shortly after futures began trading after 6 p.m. ET.

Overseas, equities in Asia also rose, though market participants continued to eye developments around Hong Kong after China announced a new national security law that would give it more control over Hong Kong, potentially stirring up further volatility in the region and further straining relations with the U.S., with whom Hong Kong holds special trade status.

Developments around the coronavirus outbreak still remained front and center for many market participants, though signs of improving consumer behavior in the U.S. after weeks of social distancing have recently started to take hold.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) data showed the number of travelers passing through checkpoints north of 250,000 for each of Saturday and Sunday, which, while still well below the more than 2 million during the same days last year, was well above the just 87,534 travelers from mid-April. And data from the hospitality firm STR showed hotel occupancy increased to 32.4% for the most recently reported week ended May 16, up from 21.0% the period ended April 11.

“In the wake of the easing lockdowns, the economy is beginning to pick itself up from the floor, though the monthly indicators will be grim for the next few weeks because of the lags in data collection and publication,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist for Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote in a note. And still, many economists are forecasting double-digit percentage declines in second-quarter gross domestic product on an annualized basis, given the economic weakness in April and much of May.

Overall, U.S. Covid-19 cases rose 1.3%, or less than the past week’s average, from Sunday to Monday, according to data from Bloomberg News and Johns Hopkins University. The death toll edged up by less than by less than 1% to just under 98,000.

Individual companies and institutions also announced new developments around potential coronavirus treatments and vaccines over the long weekend. Novavax (NVAX) said Monday it began human testing of its coronavirus vaccine candidate, and expects preliminary results around the trial in July.

Separately, the World Health Organization (WHO) decided to temporarily pause its trial testing hydroxycholoroquine as a coronavirus treatment due to safety concerns, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a news briefing, while noting “other arms of the trial are continuing.” Recently, President Donald Trump has touted the anti-malarial drug, typically used to treat conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, as a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19, and said in a media interview Sunday he had finished taking a two-week course of hydroxychloroquine.

6:01 p.m. ET Monday: Stock futures open higher

Here were the main moves at the start of the overnight session for U.S. equity futures, as of 6:01 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 2,986.5, up 33.5 points (+1.13%)

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 24,692.00, up 268 points (+1.1%)

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 9,517.75, up 111.5 points (+1.19%)

A man holds the hands of two young girls wearing masks as they cross the street as residents of New York City adjust to living with the ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Manhattan borough of New York U.S., May 20, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

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