U.S. Futures Rise as Traders Mull Virus, China Vow: Markets Wrap

 U.S. Futures Rise as Traders Mull Virus, China Vow: Markets Wrap

(Bloomberg) — Stocks and U.S. equity futures were steady Monday amid a mood of caution as traders evaluated spiking coronavirus cases.

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Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index was little changed, with real estate shares advancing and energy falling. U.S. contracts held near an all-time high reached before the Christmas break. The U.K. market remained closed, while Asian shares were mixed after a weekend pledge of greater economic support from China’s central bank.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield slipped, crude oil retreated and gold dipped. A dollar gauge ticked up.

For markets overall, “either the headline reel will spur ugly intraday moves on holiday-thinned liquidity, or volatility will remain so flatline, that if it were an ECG, the doctors and nurses would be yelling code blue,” Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at Oanda, wrote in a note.

China’s possible policy easing contrasts with steps by the Federal Reserve and other central banks to fight inflation by cutting stimulus. The outlook for monetary policy, Covid and company earnings are shaping views on whether global stocks can keep rising after nearly doubling from pandemic lows.

On the virus front, omicron continues to spread globally and cause disruption, including the cancellation of more than 2,800 flights over the holiday weekend in the U.S.

Anthony Fauci, one of the top U.S. medical advisers, said Americans should stay vigilant because omicron cases can still overwhelm hospitals even if evidence suggests the strain’s symptoms may be less severe.

Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris said the Biden administration is seeking a path forward for its “Build Back Better” economic stimulus. In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the nation has abandoned interest-rate hikes as a tool to control price pressures.

What to watch this week:

  • Hong Kong, Australian, Canadian and U.K. markets closed, Monday

  • U.S. initial jobless claims, Thursday

For more market analysis, read our MLIV blog.

Some of the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • The Stoxx Europe 600 was little changed as of 8:30 a.m. London time

  • Futures on the S&P 500 were little changed

  • Futures on the Nasdaq 100 rose 0.1%

  • Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.1%

  • The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed

  • The MSCI Emerging Markets Index was little changed

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.1%

  • The euro was unchanged at $1.1319

  • The Japanese yen fell 0.2% to 114.58 per dollar

  • The offshore yuan was little changed at 6.3745 per dollar

  • The British pound rose 0.2% to $1.3411

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined two basis points to 1.48%

  • Germany’s 10-year yield advanced one basis point to -0.24%

Commodities

  • Brent crude fell 0.2% to $75.96 a barrel

  • Spot gold fell 0.1% to $1,807.61 an ounce

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