Market Snapshot: Dow futures under pressure Sunday night as investors weigh global lockdown easings

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U.S. stock-index futures Sunday evening headed firmly lower, in thinly traded weekend action, as investors assessed the staggered plans for the reopening of economies all over the world in the wake of the deadly pandemic derived from the novel strain of coronavirus.

Investors were also watching reports on progress on obtaining additional funds for small businesses and workers hurt by the worst viral outbreak in a century.

How are benchmarks performing?

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMM20, -0.43% were off 82 points, or 0.4%, at 24,073, those for the S&P 500 index ESM20, -0.41% were down 9.35 points, or 0.3%, at 2,860.75, while Nasdaq-100 futures NQM20, -0.29% were off 14.25 points, or 0.2%, at 8,794.75.

The benchmarks are coming off a strong week, where the Dow DJIA, +2.99% gained 2.2%, the S&P 500 SPX, +2.67% advanced 3% and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +1.38% put in a weekly return of 6.1% on Friday.

What’s driving the market?

Investors have been paying attention to signs of peak infections in parts of the world, including New York, and were watching for plans from Europe, notably Germany, to end a weekslong economic pause due to the pandemic.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday said that the state on Monday will begin conducting antibody tests to help determine how many New Yorkers were infected COVID-19, as a part of the Empire State’s efforts to reopen its economy. Such testing is a major feature of Germany’s plans to restart its economy on Monday.

It is still unclear if the presence of antibodies for the novel strain of coronavirus signifies immunity, experts say, but testing has been viewed as part of a larger effort to better understand the spread of the deadly illness.

Global infections of COVID-19 have exceeded 2.4 million, with more than 165,000 lives lost to the contagion that was first identified in China in December.

Meanwhile, Democratic leaders and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said they were close to striking a deal to replenish a roughly $350 billion small-business recovery program, according to reports.

Read:Coronavirus creates a market of ‘haves and have-nots,’ with the Dow posting its best 2-week run in 82 years amid 22 million job losses

Despite some of the ground the market has made up since hitting a March 23 low, bets for further weakness are at their highest in more than three years.

Markets also may be looking to take a pause when Monday trade gets under way, with investors showing heightened expectations that the market will fall after the Dow put in its best two-week stretch of gains since 1938, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

Short bets against the popular SPDR S&P 500 Trust SPY, +2.70% rose to more than $68 billion last week, marking the highest level since 2016, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing data from analytics firm S3 Partners.

Separately, crude-oil futures CL.1, -14.83% were seeing prices continue to put in multiyear lows as worries about demand due to the fallout from COVID-19 punished prices, raising concerns about the health of members of the oil-and-gas sector.

Which stocks are in focus?

Shares of Wynn Resorts Ltd. WYNN, +8.53% will be in focus after Chief Executive Officer Matt Maddox, on Sunday called for the Las Vegas Strip to reopen in mid- to late May, with certain restrictions.

Neiman Marcus Group is preparing to file for bankruptcy as soon as this week, Reuters reported Sunday. Neiman was acquired in 2013 by Ares Management LLC ARES, +3.97% and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

International Business Machines Corp. IBM, +3.79% is set to report earnings Monday, with analysts surveyed by FactSet expecting it to report first-quarter revenue of $17.8 billion, down from the $18.18 billion reported in the year-ago period.

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