Dow futures up 150 points as investors monitor Trump response to coronavirus treatment


White House physician Sean Conley (second right, with medical staff, arrives to give an update on the condition of President Donald Trump on Sunday.


Brendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Stock-index futures rose modestly Sunday evening as investors tracked President Donald Trump’s response treatment for COVID-19 after he was hospitalized for the disease late Friday.

How are major benchmarks trading?

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average
YM00,
+0.50%
rose 154 points, or 0.6%, to 27,719, while S&P 500 futures
ES00,
+0.50%
were up 0.5% at 3,357.25. Nasdaq-100 futures
NQ00,
+0.64%
gained 0.7% to trade at 11,313.

The Dow
DJIA,
-0.48%
on Friday fell 134.09 points, or 0.5%, to 27,682.81, as benchmarks ended well off session lows scored after the initial news of Trump’s diagnosis. The S&P 500
SPX,
-0.95%
on Friday ended 32.36 points lower, down 1% at 3,348.44, while the Nasdaq Composite
COMP,
-2.22%
finished 251.49 points lower, down 2.2%, at 11,075.02.

What’s driving the market?

Investors and analysts were already bracing for a volatile run-up to the Nov. 3 presidential election before Trump’s diagnosis. The weekend saw conflicting reports over the timeline of Trump’s treatment and his condition.

Coronavirus update: Expert calls for ‘radical transparency’ on Trump’s coronavirus treatment and progress as more in president’s circle test positive

Analysts said the primary concern for investors at present revolves around whether Trump’s illness will affect a presidential race in which he continues to lag behind Democratic challenger Joe Biden. Related, investors are also weighing prospects for agreement on a stimulus package.

Read: Here’s what President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis means for stock-market volatility

“In the near term…the dramatic turn of events may be a catalyst for a stimulus agreement — or it may not; we wait for bills to be put to Congress and votes to be taken,” said Julian Emanuel, chief equity and derivatives strategist at BTIG, in a note. “ With key economic data extending its run of disappointments versus expectations and high-profile corporate layoffs, additional aid would seem imperative. ”

Results of a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll conducted in the two days following Tuesday’s highly contentious presidential debate but before news of Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis showed Biden expanding his lead to 14 percentage points, a 53% to 39% advantage, among registered voters. The survey showed Biden with an 8-point lead last month and an 11-point advantage in July, previously his largest lead of the campaign.

“The initial stock market reaction to news of President Trump’s COVID test never made much sense,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, in a Sunday note. “Sure, markets do not like uncertainty, but in a country where the election is only four weeks away, and very few voters remain undecided, it’s hard to see how Mr. Trump’s
diagnosis materially changes the race.”

On Sunday, Trump’s doctors said his condition was improving and that the president could be discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as early as Monday.

Trump on Sunday tweeted a second video of himself from Walter Reed to update the country on his condition. Shortly afterward, he was driven past cheering supporters outside the hospital, where he waved and gave the crowd a thumbs-up.



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