Tuesday September 7th


U.S. stock futures are flat to start the trading week as investors worry about delta’s impact

U.S. stock index futures were flat Tuesday morning amid lingering concerns about the delta variant’s impact on the economic reopening. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose by 20 points. S&P 500 futures were flat and Nasdaq 100 futures traded slightly in negative territory. The NYSE was closed on Monday for Labor Day. Goldman Sachs downgraded its economic outlook over the weekend, citing the delta variant and fading fiscal stimulus. Goldman now sees 5.7% annual growth in 2021, below the 6.2% consensus. The firm cut its fourth-quarter GDP outlook to 5.5%, down from 6.5%. “The hurdle for strong consumption growth going forward appears much higher: the Delta variant is already weighing on Q3 growth, and fading fiscal stimulus and a slower service sector recovery will both be headwinds in the medium term,” stated the Goldman note. The S&P 500 is slightly in the green for September, up 0.3% so far, but it is a month that historically has challenged markets. The month averages a 0.6% decline, the worst of any month, with a positive rate of just 45%, according to CFRA. Morgan Stanley downgraded U.S. equities to underweight on Tuesday. “We see a bumpy September-October as the final stages of a mid-cycle transition play out,” wrote the strategists led by Andrew Sheets. “We continue to think this is a ‘normal’ cycle, just hotter and faster, and our cycle model remains in ‘expansion’. But the next two months carry an outsized risk to growth, policy and the legislative agenda.” Boeing shares were lower in premarket trading after the Wall Street Journal reported deliveries for the 787 Dreamliner would likely be further delayed. Drug stocks including Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Amgen were slightly lower in premarket trading after Morgan Stanley downgraded the three stocks. Shares of GM fell in early trading after various auto leaders said Monday at the Munich Motor Show that a global chip shortage would likely continued to weigh on the industry. In regular trading Friday, the Dow lost 74.73 points, or 0.21%, while the S&P 500 fell slightly by 0.03%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 0.21%, helping support the broader market. The losses came after the August jobs report came in short of expectations, highlighting continued concern about the spread of Covid and its delta variant. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 235,000 in August, the Labor Department reported, but economists surveyed by Dow Jones expected 720,000 jobs. Year-to-date, the Dow is up 15.5%, the S&P is up 20.7% and the Nasdaq Composite is up 19.2%, although investors and analysts are still on the lookout for a major correction in September. “Admittedly, passive investors have yet to feel pain,” Bank of America said in a note Friday, adding that “2021 represents yet another year during which the [S&P 500] has crushed it, but some signs indicate that it may be time to start getting ‘pickier’ when it comes to stocks.” No economic data is due out Tuesday. Investors will be looking ahead to jobless claims data on Thursday and producer prices on Friday. Shares in Asia-Pacific were mostly higher on Tuesday, as China’s August trade data came in above expectations. The Shanghai composite in mainland China rose 1.51% to close at 3,676.59 while the Shenzhen component advanced 1.074% to 14,702.90. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.73% to close at 26,353.63. The Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 0.86% to close at 29,916.14 while the Topix index advanced 1.09% to 2,063.38, with shares in the country continuing to trek upward after two straight trading days of solid gains. Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.5% to end the trading day at 3,187.42. Oil prices were mixed on Tuesday as Saudi Arabia’s sharp cuts in crude contract prices for Asia sparked fears over slower demand, but strong Chinese economic data capped losses. Brent crude futures slid 30 cents, or 0.4%, to $71.92 per barrel, after falling 39 cents on Monday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was at $68.50 a barrel, down 79 cents, or 1.1%, from Friday’s close, with no settlement price for Monday due to the Labor Day holiday in the United States. Gold prices fell on Tuesday, retreating further from a 2-1/2 month peak hit last week, as a firmer dollar and a rise in U.S. Treasury yields dented demand for safe-haven bullion. Spot gold was down 0.8% to $1,808.50 per ounce by 7:40 a.m. ET, while U.S. gold futures fell 1.2% to $1,811.80.