Wall Street set for somber open after Trump signs virus relief orders

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FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 8, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) – Wall Street indexes were set to open almost unchanged on Monday as investors looked to executive orders from President Donald Trump over the weekend to support the economy until more concrete stimulus could be passed.

The S&P 500 .SPX, which ended about a percent off a record high on Friday, was set to tick higher, while the Nasdaq .IXIC was likely to drift further away from a series of record highs hit last week.

Trump’s orders that partly restored enhanced unemployment benefits came after talks between the White House and top Democrats in Congress about fresh stimulus broke down. But U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have said they were open to restarting them.

With total infections in the country crossing five million and recent data suggesting that an economic recovery was stalling, markets had few positive cues to trade on.

Tensions between Washington and Beijing were also at play, after Trump signed executive orders last week banning major Chinese technology firms in 45 days’ time while announcing sanctions on 11 Chinese and Hong Kong officials.

Still, optimism over a better-than-expected earnings season and hopes of more stimulus had seen the S&P 500 gain nearly 2.5% last week, while the Nasdaq touched a record high every day of the week.

After a strong tech-led rally over the past few months, “to me it’s about the U.S. stimulus as a catalyst for markets at this point,” said Tim Chubb, chief investment officer at Girard in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

“I wouldn’t we surprised if the markets were to close off a little bit here and we start to see some unwinding in the favorites.”

At 8:08 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were up 97 points, or 0.35%. S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up 3.25 points, or 0.1% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 10 points, or 0.09%.

Among individual movers, Eastman Kodak Co (KODK.N) plunged 39.1% premarket after its $765-million loan agreement with the U.S. government to produce pharmaceutical ingredients was put on hold due to “recent allegations of wrongdoing.”

Marriott International Inc (MAR.O) dropped about 1.4% after posting its first quarterly loss in nearly nine years, as extended travel disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic hammered bookings.

The No. 1 U.S. mall owner Simon Property Group (SPG.N) rose 6.1% after a report that it has been in talks with Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) about turning some of its department-store sites into Amazon fulfillment centers.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKb.N) shares edged higher as its second-quarter net income surged 87%.

Reporting by Ambar Warrick and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Reuters

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