Stock Futures Pause After Dow's 30000 Milestone

11/25/2020 | 09:08am

By Will Horner

U.S. stock futures wavered a day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average breached 30000 points for the first time, and as investors looked ahead to a packed day of economic data.

Futures tied to the S&P 500 were flat Wednesday. Dow futures fell back below the milestone they hit Tuesday, while Nasdaq-100 futures were up 0.3%.

Stocks have been boosted in recent days by hopes that vaccines for Covid-19 could soon become widely available. The easing of concerns around the presidential transition have also boosted investor sentiment. Plus, President-elect Joe Biden's pick of former Federal Reserve head Janet Yellen for Treasury secretary has increased hopes of sizable stimulus measures.

Countering that optimism are concerns that the coronavirus pandemic continues to threaten households and raises the prospect of further restrictions. As of Tuesday, there were 88,080 hospitalized patients in the U.S., a record high for a 15th consecutive day, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

"We are certainly in a much more optimistic position than we were a few weeks ago," said Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Investors, stating that investors' major concerns, from the pandemic to a rocky political transition, have been mostly resolved.

"The market is trying to balance itself between the short-term outlooks of a winter wave of Covid cases and the more positive medium-term outlook thanks to the vaccine and the recovery that will follow. But that medium-term outlook is plagued with uncertainties," she added.

In premarket trading, Gap was down 11% after reporting flat sales in the third quarter. Executives at the retailer cautioned that rising virus cases would likely weigh on store visits during the crucial holiday shopping season.

HP climbed more than 5% before the opening bell after the computing equipment maker's posted revenue that was better than expected.

Investors await a busy slate of economic data, some of which have been brought forward due to Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday. Trading in the U.S. will be closed Thursday and conclude early on Friday.

Weekly figures from the Labor Department showed jobless claims rose for a second consecutive week, a sign that resurging Covid-19 cases are taking a toll on the labor market. Meanwhile, durable goods orders rose by more than forecast.

Economists are expecting a sixth consecutive monthly rise in consumer spending data, which is set to be released at 10 a.m. Consumer spending has been the driving force behind the economy's recovery and investors will be watching for signs of how Americans are faring.

Minutes from the Federal Reserve's last monetary policy meeting earlier this month are also due at 2 p.m.

In commodity markets, Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil, rose 0.7% to $48.09 a barrel. Gold prices ticked 0.4% higher to $1,811.40 a troy ounce.

Overseas, the pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.1%, led by auto makers and energy companies. Asian benchmarks were mixed, with the Japanese Nikkei 225 ending the day 0.5% higher, while China's Shanghai Composite fell 1.2%.

Write to Will Horner at William.Horner@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

11-25-20 0907ET

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