Stock futures signal Wall Street set to take another shot at records as 2020 winds down

Stock futures signal Wall Street set to take another shot at records as 2020 winds down

Stock-index futures pointed to a positive start for Wall Street on Wednesday, with benchmarks set to take a run at another round of records in the penultimate trading session of 2020.

What are major benchmarks doing?
  • Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average

    rose 83 points, or 0.3%, to 30,321.

  • S&P 500 futures

    were up 12.10 points, or 0.3%, at 3,732.

  • Nasdaq-100 futures

    gained 38.50 points, or 0.3%, to trade at 12,879.50.

Stocks ended slightly lower Tuesday after pushing to all-time intraday highs in early action, a day after the Dow
S&P 500

and Nasdaq Composite

closed at records.

What’s driving the market?

Analysts said thin, end-of-year trading conditions could make for exaggerated market moves and make it more difficult than usual to discern whether action is being driven by events or money flows.

That said, the market’s drift lower on Tuesday was blamed in part on a lack of action by the Senate on bigger direct payments to households after the Democratic-controlled House on Monday passed legislation that would boost the size of payments from $600 to $2,000.

Democrats have moved to back the call for bigger payments by President Donald Trump, who signed a $900 billion package of economic relief on Sunday.

The Senate adjourned Tuesday without taking any action on the House bill to increase the size of the payments, with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., hinting that he would like to tie the debate to other issues.

“If the Senate votes in favor of the plan, then equities could drift higher, while the opposite may be true in case of a rejection,” said Charalambos Pissouros, senior market analyst at JFD Group, in a note.

But any retreat sparked by the rejection of larger checks would be unlikely to last for long and could prove to be a buying opportunity, Pissouros said.

“We stick to our guns that the COVID vaccinations, the fiscal stimulus in the U.S., the Brexit accord, and a Biden presidency, may continue benefiting risk assets, while safe havens could stay under selling interest,” Pissouros said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. counted at least 200,902 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, and at least 3,626 people died, according to a New York Times tracker. The new, more contagious COVID-19 variant recently discovered in the U.K. was detected in the U.S. for the first time, in Colorado, on Tuesday.

Also on the COVID front, AstraZeneca PLC


on Wednesday said the coronavirus vaccine it has developed with the University of Oxford has been approved by the U.K. government.

The economic calendar features advance trade in goods figures for November at 8:30 a.m. Eastern, while the Chicago-area purchasing managers index December is due at 9:45 a.m. and a report on November pending home sales is set for release at 10 a.m.

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