Stock futures open little changed after rally

Stock futures were roughly flat Monday evening after a regular-session rally sent the Dow higher by 690 points, or 3.2%.

The jump sent the Dow and S&P 500 higher for their fourth time in five sessions, and came after a smattering of positive health-care developments helped blunt some fears surrounding reports of a still-rising coronavirus case count, extended stay-at-home orders, and strained hospital infrastructure in the cities hit hardest by the outbreak.

Johnson & Johnson said Monday it planned to begin human tests of its coronavirus vaccine by September, and Abbott Laboratories recently unveiled a five-minute coronavirus test. Health-care stocks led advances during Monday’s rally.

Reports that at least some congressional lawmakers were already pushing for more fiscal stimulus just days after passing a $2 trillion economic relief package also supported equities.

Still, both the human impact and business disruptions due to the pandemic have continued to mount. As of Monday evening, the number of coronavirus cases topped 775,000 globally, including more than 159,000 in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins data. In New York, the U.S. epicenter of the outbreak, the number of confirmed cases jumped by nearly 7,000 to 66,497 as of Monday afternoon.

Macy’s, Kohl’s and Gap became some of the latest major public retailers to announce major furloughs as storefronts stay closed. Companies from Domino’s Pizza to Planet Fitness and L’Oreal on Monday suspended their respective 2020 financial guidance, as uncertainty over the duration and magnitude of impact from the coronavirus outbreak linger.

Amid these developments, many analysts believe further volatility is ahead for equities, with some predicting a choppier “W-shaped,” rather than a “V-shaped,” recovery. Others, including those at JPMorgan Chase, suggested risk assets could start to stabilize from here.

As equities at least temporarily take a breather from a selloff earlier this month, investors turned their attention to oil, which continued its precipitous price declines during Monday’s session. West Texas intermediate futures dropped to the lowest level since 2003, as the supply threat of Saudi Arabia’s price war with Russia compounded with the demand shock induced by the coronavirus outbreak and ensuing business disruptions.

President Donald Trump held a call with Russian leader Vladimir Putin Monday, during which the leaders “agreed on the importance of stability in global energy markets,” according to Bloomberg, citing a White House statement.

6:02 p.m. ET Monday: Stock futures open little changed

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 6:11 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): down 0.02%, or 0.5 points to 2,610.75

  • Dow futures (YM=F): down 0.03% or 6 points to 21,161.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): down 0.12% or 9.75 points to 7,845.00

The empty trading floor is seen after the closing of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

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