Tuesday May 12th


US stock futures point to a slight gain as investors monitor efforts to reopen the economy

U.S. stock index futures were slightly higher in early morning trading on Tuesday as investors evaluated the latest attempts to reopen the economy. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 53 points, or 0.2%. Futures on the S&P 500 gained 0.2%. Nasdaq-100 futures also pointed to slight gains, rising 0.2%. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and other health officials will testify before the Senate Health Committee at 10 am ET to discuss reopening the economy. Fauci will say that reopening too quickly by states will cause “needless suffering and death,” according to the New York Times. Despite the risks, stocks that would benefit most from reopening the economy led gains in premarket trading Tuesday. Mall owner Simon Property Group, Marriott, Wynn Resorts were all higher in premarket trading. Shares of Apple were slightly higher in premarket trading Tuesday as tech stocks looked to extend their winning ways. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose for a sixth day on Monday, posting its longest winning streak this year. With Monday’s gain, the gauge is firmly in the green on the year, up 2.4% and sitting just 6.5% from its record high reached on Feb. 19. The Dow fell about 100 points to start the week, while the S&P 500 was little changed on Monday. Investors continued to pile into tech firms whose businesses proved to have the most resilient in the age of coronavirus crisis. Shares of Amazon and Netflix both soared more than 30% this year, while Microsoft gained 18%. Chipmaker Nvidia also hit an all-time high on Monday, bringing its 2020 gains to 37%. While bouncing swiftly from their March lows, the S&P 500 and the Dow are still well in the negative territory for the year, down 9.3% and 15.1%, respectively. Energy remained the worst-performing sector among the 11 S&P 500 groupings, with a 36% loss in 2020. “Growth has been bulletproof in 2020,” Stephen Suttmeier, Bank of America’s technical research strategist, said in a note on Monday. “No change in leadership as the 2020 parabolic rise for Growth vs Value achieves the Y2K Tech Bubble peaks.” Meanwhile, traders continued to weigh attempts to reopen economies against fears of an increase in coronavirus cases that could lead to future lockdowns. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday the state’s restrictions on certain low-risk businesses and activities will lift on Friday. The World Health Organization said several countries that eased coronavirus restrictions, including China, have seen increases in the number of positive Covid-19 cases. “Markets have been torn between optimism on the tentative re-opening of some economies and caution on the still grim economic data,” Mike Pyle, global chief investment strategist at BlackRock Investment Institute, said in a note. “Markets will watch out for any cracks in the financial system and elsewhere in the economy as virus infections climb.” Stocks in major Asia Pacific markets were lower on Tuesday, as Chinese inflation data for April missed expectations. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 1.48%, as of its final hour of trading. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 declined 0.12% to close at 20,366.48 while the Topix index slipped 0.26% to end its trading day at 1,476.72. South Korea’s Kospi closed 0.68% lower at 1,922.17. Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed on the day, with the Shanghai composite down 0.11% to about 2,891.56 while the Shenzhen composite rose 0.332% to around 1,810.73. Oil futures rose on Tuesday, boosted by an unexpected commitment from Saudi Arabia to deepen production cuts in June to help drain the glut in the global market that has grown as the coronavirus pandemic crushed fuel demand. Brent crude futures climbed 98 cents, or 3.3%, to trade at $30.61 per barrel. The benchmark fell $1.34 on Monday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures climbed $1.33, or 5.5%, to trade at $25.47 per barrel. Gold prices rose on Tuesday as the dollar gave up some of its earlier gains, amid worries of a resurgence in coronavirus infections in some countries and lingering trade tensions between the United States and China. Spot gold was up 0.5% at $1,705 per ounce. U.S. gold futures rose 0.7% to $1,710.40.