Wednesday December 9th


Dow futures rise slightly after markets reach record highs and S&P 500 tops 3,700

U.S. stock index futures rose early Wednesday, building on recent strength that’s pushed the major averages to record highs. Dow futures rose 66 points, or 0.2%. The move indicated an opening gain of about 70 points. S&P 500 futures rose 0.1%. Nasdaq-100 futures were flat. Fueling the rally is optimism about the U.K.’s rollout of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine on Tuesday. Hope that the Senate will soon agree to a stimulus package to prop up markets as the coronavirus outbreak rages on has also boosted sentiment. Stocks that would benefit most from a successful vaccine rollout gained in the premarket. Shares of American Airlines rose 2.7% and Carnival Corp. gained 2.3%. On Tuesday, the Dow climbed about 104 points, helped by gains in Dow Inc. and Johnson & Johnson. The 30-stock Dow closed just slightly below its record from Friday and well above the 30,000 level. The S&P 500 also registered gained of 0.28%, closing at a record high. The 500 stock index closed above 3,700 for the first time. The Nasdaq Composite also notched a record close after rallying 0.5%, fueled by cloud stocks. All of the major averages started in negative territory on Tuesday. “Interestingly, leadership shared by both technology and cyclicals [Tuesday], a trend increasingly noticeable during the last five trading days,” Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group, told CNBC. The small-cap benchmark Russell 2000 closed up 1.4% at a new record on Tuesday. “Covid is raging and still no stimulus package? Never mind, with vaccinations already underway, it may be impossible to keep this stock market from rising through the holidays,” Paulsen added. Tuesday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he wants Congress to pass a coronavirus relief bill with neither legal immunity for businesses nor state and local government relief. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said McConnell’s proposal to move stimulus talks forward without state and local government aid is not in good faith. The volatile negotiations come amid the worst days of the coronavirus pandemic so far. More than 200,000 Americans are testing positive for the coronavirus every day on average, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. The United States has seen 1 million new cases in just four days, bringing the national total to over 15 million. The Labor Department’s so-called JOLTs report will be released at 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday. Economists polled by Dow Jones are expecting job openings to hit 6.3 million in October, down slightly from the 6.4 million in September. Asia-Pacific markets traded mostly higher on Wednesday as a coronavirus vaccine rollout commenced in the U.K., fueling some of the optimism among investors. The Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 1.33% to 26,817.94 and the Topix index gained 1.17% to 1,779.42. South Korea’s Kospi index added 2.02% to 2,755.47. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 0.6% in late-afternoon trade. Chinese mainland markets bucked the generally positive trend: The Shanghai composite fell 1.12% to 3,371.96, the Shenzhen composite was down 1.882% at 2,250.80 and the Shenzhen component fell 1.84% to 13,716.53. Oil prices rose on Wednesday as news about COVID-19 vaccines lifted investor hopes for a recovery in fuel demand and outweighed concerns sparked by figures indicating U.S. oil inventories jumped last week. Brent crude rose 13 cents, or 0.3%, to $48.98 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude climbed 6 cents to $45.66. Gold slid nearly 1% on Wednesday, falling back from the previous session’s two-week peak as optimism over COVID-19 vaccine developments led investors to opt for riskier assets such as equities. Spot gold was down 0.7% at $1,857.80 per ounce, having earlier fallen as low as $1,851.31. On Tuesday it hit its highest since Nov. 23 at $1,875.07. U.S. gold futures slipped 0.65% to $1,862.40.