U.S. stock-index futures hovered near the flatline on Monday, with the S&P 500 index set to open near record territory but finding few reasons to trade higher amid a congressional stalemate over fresh stimulus to help Americans and businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.
How are major indexes doing?
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YM00, +0.22% YMU20, +0.22% were trading up 58 points, or 0.2%, at 27,850, those for the S&P 500 index ES00, +0.32% ESU20, +0.32% were climbing 9.85 points to reach 3,371.25, a gain of 0.3%; Nasdaq-100 futures NQ00, +0.67% NQU20, +0.67% were rising 66.25 points, or 0.6%, at 11,200.50.
On Friday, the Dow DJIA, +0.12% gained 1.8% for the week, the S&P 500 SPX, -0.01% booked a weekly advance of 0.6%. Friday’s gain turned the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.21% barely positive for the week, up 0.1%.
What’s driving the market?
Market participants were finding a dearth of catalysts for stocks to move toward records a potentially bearish dynamic, heading into a the waning part of the summer when trading volume tends to lighten.
“The S&P 500 is failing to breakout of its all-time high. Traders do believe that if the price continues to consolidate here, it is likely that the sentiment may become bearish,” wrote Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade,” in a note.
Moves for the equity market come against the backdrop of failed negotiations between Democrats and Republicans centered on advancing a new package of aid to help laborers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic after $600 a week in unemployment assistance were halted at the end of last month.
Investors are doubtful that a V-shaped recovery can be achieved without new support for those out of work but the market’s tepid climb also suggests that bets are being made that an agreement will be achieved eventually.
Meanwhile, the U.S. reported just over 42,000 new COVID-19 cases for Sunday, a sharp drop from Friday’s total of more than 64,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. However, the nation’s total number of cases surpassed 5.4 million, about a quarter of the world-wide total.
Elsewhere on Monday, New Zealand, where the outbreak has been under control for much of the pandemic, delayed its elections by about a month after an outbreak in Auckland put a third of voters into lockdown.
Looking ahead, the market awaits a report on manufacturing in the New York state area, the Empire State Manufacturing Index, which is due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.