Market Snapshot: Dow futures bounce around as investors await Powell, Mnuchin testimony on the coronavirus response

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U.S. stock-index futures were seeing muted trading early Tuesday as investors awaited a congressional hearing featuring Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Secretary of State Steven Mnuchin that could provide more investor guidance about the government’s economic response to rising coronavirus cases.

Tuesday marks the final day of the month, quarter and first half of the year, which may lead to some choppiness as investors make last-minute changes to their portfolios, and as investors continue to monitor COVID-19 developments, experts say.

The stock market will be closed on Friday in observance of the Fourth of July holiday.

How are benchmarks performing?

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YM00, -0.06% YMU20, -0.06% were 3 points, or less than 0.1%, lower at 25,498, those for the S&P 500 index ES00, -0.03% slipped added 1.05 points, or 0.1%, at 3,048.75, ESU20, -0.03% while Nasdaq-100 futures NQ00, +0.00% NQU20, +0.00% rose less than a point at 9,973.74.

On Monday, the Dow DJIA, +2.32% gained 580.25 points, or 2.3%, its best one-day percentage climb since June 5, according to Dow Jones Market Data. The S&P 500 index SPX, +1.46% advanced 44.19 points, or 1.5%, to finish at 3,053.24. The technology-laden Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +1.19% picked up 116.93 points, or 1.2%, to end at 9,874.15

What’s driving the market?

After a solid rally to start a holiday-shortened week, market participants may look to glean some guidance from joint testimony from Powell and Mnuchin about the U.S.’s economic response to the global public health disaster. The two speak in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

In prepared remarks, Powell said the reopening of businesses has happened sooner than central bank officials expected, as has a rebound in some economic activity, but he cautioned against complacency.

“While this bounce back in economic activity is welcome, it also presents new challenges—notably, the need to keep the virus in check.”

The hearing, which is a requirement of the $2 trillion relief package Congress approved in March, comes as the global tally for confirmed cases of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 rose to 10.3 million on Tuesday, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. The number of deaths climbed to 505,518. Within the U.S., infections have climbed in 35 states over the past 14 days, according to a New York Times tracker, with California, Texas and Florida leading the way.

Both New Jersey and New York, states that have been seeing a smaller rise in new cases, have said that they will be forced to delay aspects of their business reopening plans as the virus spreads elsewhere.

In Asia, China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers for June rose to 50.9 from 50.6 in May, while the services PMI rose to 54.4 from 53.6, suggesting the second largest economy in the world is recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee approved landmark national-security law for Hong Kong, which may further raise tensions between Beijing and Washington.

Looking ahead, in U.S. data, the Case-Shiller home price index is due at 9 a.m., A report on manufacturing activity in the Chicago-area is due at 9:45 a.m., with estimates for a reading of 42.5. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index will be released at 10 a.m. The market is expecting a reading of 90 according to consensus estimates from economists polled by Econoday.

Separately, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic and Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari will participate in a discussion on equality in the economy hosted by National Association of Business Economics at 2 p.m.

Which stocks are in focus?
  • Shares of Lululemon Athletica Inc. LULU, +1.66% also gained on news it will acquire at-home fitness company Mirror for $500 million.
  • Shares of Conagra Brands Inc.
  • FedEx Corp. FDX, +3.43% is slated to report results after the close of trade Tuesday
  • Wells Fargo shares WFC, +1.42% may be in focus after the bank was one of the few major banks to announce that it was cutting its dividends after bank stress tests conducted last week.

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