Monday October 5th

5-10-2020

Dow futures rise 200 points as investors monitor Trump’s health

U.S. stock index futures rose Monday as investors applauded what appeared to be improvements in President Donald Trump’s health and the prospect that he may be discharged from Walter Reed hospital later in the session. Investors would likely be relieved to learn of the president’s departure from the facility as it would ease uncertainty about Trump’s Covid-19 prognosis and the functioning of the U.S. government during the already-chaotic election season. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose about 200 points, or 0.7%. The move implied an opening gain of about 190 points. S&P 500 futures rose about 0.6% while Nasdaq 100 futures gained 0.7%. Investors’ upbeat outlook Monday came after Trump said in a minute-long video posted on Twitter late Sunday that “we are getting great reports from the doctors.” The president also took a short, last-minute motorcade ride to wave to his supporters standing outside the hospital. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told NBC News that, “The discharge decision will be made later today between the president and his medical team.” The president also fired off a series of tweets early Monday morning urging Americans to vote for him, citing the “biggest tax cut ever” and “stock market highs.” He was transferred to Walter Reed on Friday after he was given the antiviral drug remdesivir. Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said Sunday that his condition has improved and the president may be discharged as soon as Monday. “This announcement added yet another level of uncertainty to the election...an election that is in itself one of the many uncertainties surrounding the stock market,” Matt Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak, said in a note on Sunday. Wall Street had been more concerned last week after his doctors said they had begun treating him with dexamethasone, a steroid recommended for severe cases of Covid-19. The president was said to have experienced two drops in his oxygen levels since his diagnosis announcement just before 1 a.m. ET on Friday. After Trump’s diagnosis, former Vice President Joe Biden opened his widest lead in a month in the presidential race with 51% of those polled backing him and 41% saying they would vote for Trump, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Sunday from October 2-3. A win for the former vice president in November could spell headaches for Wall Street in the form of higher taxes and tighter regulations, but some also say it could lead to a bigger fiscal stimulus deal that would be good for stocks. At the same time, a convincing win could ease concerns about a drawn-out or contested election result. Markets seem (to) have lowered the chance of prolonged uncertainty post-November 3,” wrote Ajay Rajadhyaksha, head of macro research at Barclays. “Given that Vice President Biden has been ahead in most polls, this suggests that markets are assigning a bit more probability to his win and a bit less to a close and contested outcome.”

‘Get it done’

Trump’s illness, as well as a weak September jobs report, highlighted the urgency for further coronavirus stimulus after a months-long stalemate in Washington. Optimism for reaching a compromise rose over the weekend after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., signaled progress on Friday, saying “we continue to work on the text to move quickly to facilitate an agreement.” Pelosi on Friday called on the airline industry to delay furloughs, saying additional relief for the industry is “imminent.” The president also put pressure on his caucus over the weekend to get a deal done, saying in a tweet that lawmakers should “WORK TOGETHER AND GET IT DONE.” Trump’s sickened condition also emphasized the gravity of the pandemic that is still roiling major states and cities in the country. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday that nine ZIP codes in Brooklyn and Queens will most likely shut down on Wednesday due to a recent spike in new cases. Despite Trump’s diagnosis, major averages all eked out modest gains last week. The S&P 500 climbed 1.5% for its first positive week in five. Stocks rallied in Asia early Monday, with Japan’s Nikkei and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng indexes leading the way. The Nikkei Stock Average is up 1.3% early. The Hang Seng HSI was ahead just over 1.5% in initial trading. Oil prices rose on Monday, lifted by comments from doctors for U.S. President Donald Trump suggesting he could be discharged from hospital as soon as Monday, just a few days after his positive coronavirus test sparked widespread alarm. Brent was up $1.47, or 3.7%, to $40.74 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was $1.56, or 4.2%, higher at $38.61 a barrel. Gold inched up on Monday as the dollar weakened, although gains were limited as news that U.S. President Donald Trump, receiving treatment for COVID-19, could be released from hospital boosted risk sentiment. Spot gold was up 0.1% at $1,900.46 per ounce. U.S. gold futures were down 0.2% at $1,904.50.