U.S. Stock Futures Rise as Election Uncertainty Ebbs

11/24/2020 | 08:21am

By Anna Hirtenstein

U.S. stock futures climbed Tuesday after President Trump said his aides would cooperate with President-elect Joe Biden's transition to the White House, easing investors' concerns about a drawn-out period of uncertainty.

Futures tied to the S&P 500 rose 0.8%, pointing to a second day of gains in U.S. stocks after the opening bell. Contracts linked to the tech-heavy Nasdaq-100 index edged up 0.3%.

Investors are cheering signs that a protracted fight over control of the White House is potentially drawing to a close, reducing political risks over the winter months. The General Services Administration chief said Monday that her agency would provide Mr. Biden federal resources meant to assist in a smooth transfer of power. Mr. Trump also said he has instructed aides to help with the transition.

"This is very positive: it means that we finally might get an orderly transition process," said Luc Filip, head of private banking investments at SYZ Private Banking. "That would relieve some of the uncertainties that have been weighing on the market over the past two to three weeks."

Stocks also grew more buoyant Monday after The Wall Street Journal reported that Mr. Biden plans to select former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary. Ms. Yellen has said recently the recovery will be uneven and lackluster if Congress doesn't spend more to fight unemployment and keep small businesses afloat.

One of Ms. Yellen's first decisions could be to potentially reactivate a series of measures to backstop credit growth that the Fed and Treasury launched this spring. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin decided last week that the programs would cease the purchase of loans or assets at the end of the year, declining an extension that had been sought by the Fed.

"She has clearly shown that she's willing to minimize the downside risks to the economy," said Eric Barthalon, global head of capital markets research at Allianz. "This is good news from a markets' point of view."

The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, declined 0.3%.

In bond markets, the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes edged up to 0.868%, from 0.857% on Monday.

Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil, rose to its highest since the turmoil in markets in the spring, ticking up 1% to $46.50 a barrel.

"Oil demand rebound in 2021 is now a certainty, and markets are not waiting to price it in," said Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst at Nordic bank SEB. "Add in the new stability from Biden, and it is again possible to make sensible predictions."

A survey of U.S. consumer confidence for November, due out at 10 a.m. ET, is likely to reflect the recent surge in coronavirus cases and government restrictions in some states to contain the spread.

Companies including Dell Technologies and retailers Gap and Nordstrom are scheduled to report earnings after markets close. Investors will be scrutinizing their results for further insights into businesses' ability to operate and their guidance for the coming months in light of the fresh limits on commercial activity around the world.

Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.7%.

Among European equities, travel stocks rose after the U.K. government said it would allow travelers to reduce the number of quarantine days, starting Dec. 15, if they test negative for Covid-19. Jet-engine maker Rolls Royce Holdings advanced nearly 9%, cruise company Carnival jumped over 9% and International Consolidated Airlines Group, parent of British Airways, rose almost 6% in London.

Oil companies also rallied on the back of the rise in crude prices. BP advanced over 7% in London, and Royal Dutch Shell gained 4.5% in Amsterdam.

Travel stocks edged up in U.S. premarket trading as well, with United Airlines Holdings, Southwest Airlines and Alaska Air Group climbing over 3%. Royal Caribbean Group gained 4%.

Most major Asian benchmarks edged up by the close of trading. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.4% and Japan's Nikkei 225 jumped 2.5%, playing catch up after being closed Monday for a holiday. China's Shanghai Composite Index ticked down 0.3%.

Write to Anna Hirtenstein at anna.hirtenstein@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

11-24-20 0820ET

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