Stock futures TK after rally

Stock futures steadied Monday evening after a rally during the regular session sent the S&P 500 and Nasdaq to their highest levels since early March.

Positive updates on an easing of the coronavirus outbreak in global hot spots extended into Monday. Italy reported daily new cases rose by 1,739, or the lowest since March 10, from 2,324 on Sunday. And in New York state, the daily death toll dropped to 337 from 367 the prior day, and hospitalizations were virtually flat. A day earlier, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo discussed restarting construction and manufacturing in areas of the state less hard-hit by the pandemic after May 15.

Market participants will be looking to economic data Tuesday including the Conference Board’s April consumer confidence index to gauge the recent economic damage induced by the pandemic. Still, many analysts noted that the latest economic data is taking a back seat to hopes that the stream of states eyeing May business reopenings will succeed in getting their local economies back on their feet, creating a blueprint for a broader economic jump-start.

Policymakers’ aggressive response to supporting the virus-stricken economy has also helped support equities. On Monday, the Small Business Association resumed taking applications for its multi-billion-dollar aid program, which was replenished with funds authorized by Congress last week. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve broadened the scope of its Municipal Liquidity Facility to provide counties and cities with smaller populations with short-term credit.

“Certainly, the massive fiscal and monetary response to the dead stop of the economy accounts for much of that moderation,” David Joy, Ameriprise chief market strategist, wrote in a note Monday. “But, investors also now well understand that for the next few months economic data is going to be exceptionally weak, and they’re taking it in stride.”

Investors have also mostly looked through dismal first-quarter corporate earnings results, with the coronavirus pandemic now reasonably understood to have dented corporations across industries. Shares of Adidas (ADS.DE), one of the companies that reported results on Monday, closed higher even after reporting a 96% drop in first-quarter net profit and forecasting a 40% drop in sales for the current quarter. Key earnings results set for release Tuesday include Google-parent company Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL), PepsiCo (PEP), Caterpillar (CAT), Southwest Airlines (LUV) and Starbucks (SBUX).

6:05 p.m. ET Monday: Stock futures little changed as overnight session kicks off

Here were the main moves at the start of the overnight session for U.S. equity futures, as of 6:05 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): down 3.5 points, or 0.12%, to 2,865.5

  • Dow futures (YM=F): down 13 points, or 0.05%, to 23,986.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): down 13.5 points, or 0.15%, to 8,810.75

Financial District Center, New York City, USA

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