Stock futures opened higher Sunday evening as investors looked ahead to a packed week of earnings, stimulus talks and congressional testimony from Covid-19 vaccine developers.
Stocks closed out last week with a choppy session, though both the S&P 500 and Dow eked out a third straight weekly advance. Tech shares lagged throughout the week, as the software stocks that had been outperforming for months gave back some gains.
Over the weekend, coronavirus case and death counts rose again in the US, with the domestic death toll topping 140,000. Cases in Florida rose by more than 10,000 for a fifth straight day as of Sunday. California’s new cases rose by more than 9,300, or well above the 8,487 average over the prior two weeks, as the state struggled to reign in infections. In Texas, new cases rose by 7,300 as of Sunday, falling below the 10,000 mark for new cases for the first time since July 13.
With Congress returning from a more than two-week recess on Monday, lawmakers are set to begin discussions for another round of stimulus to help relieve individuals and companies impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told Fox News on Sunday that the talks would begin at the White House at the start of this week, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy present.
On Tuesday, officials from Merck (MRK), Moderna (MRNA), Pfizer (PFE), AstraZeneca (AZN) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) are set to testify on July 21 before the House Committee of Energy and Commerce to discuss their work in creating inoculations for Covid-19.
Investors are also gearing up for a packed slate of quarterly earnings results this week, which will reflect the extent of the damage the pandemic has done to corporate profits. Companies comprising about one-quarter of the S&P 500 are set to deliver earnings results in the coming week, representing one of the heaviest weeks of reports this quarter. About 13.4% of the S&P 500’s market capitalization reported second-quarter results so far, with the big banks, Netflix (NFLX) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) among the big reporters last week.
Second-quarter earnings per share are “projected to experience the greatest contraction of the current crisis, -43.0% versus the same quarter last year,” Credit Suisse strategist Jonathan Golub wrote in a note Friday. “That said, company results have been topping forecasts by +13.0%, more than any quarter since 1Q10.”
6:04 p.m. ET Sunday: Stock futures tick higher as overnight session kicks off
Here were the main moves at the start of the overnight session for U.S. equity futures, as of 6:04 p.m. ET:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,214.75, up 0.75 points or 0.02%
Dow futures (YM=F): 26,538.00, up 18 points, or 0.07%
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 10,635.25, up 12.75 points, or 0.12%