Dow futures rise to kick off holiday-shortened week even as coronavirus cases top 10 million world-wide

U.S. stock-index futures on Monday pointed to a slightly higher open even as data over the weekend highlighted the persistence of coronavirus in hot spots, including Florida, Texas and California, fueling concerns about the economic outlook. Financial markets in the U.S. 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, +0.37% YMU20, +0.37% gained 95 points, or 0.4%, at 25,045; those for the S&P 500 ES00, +0.16% ESU20, +0.16% picked up 4.85 points, or 0.2%, at 3,011.75; while Nasdaq-100 futures NQ00, -0.26% NQU20, -0.26% retreated 26.50 points, or 0.3%, to reach 9,839. On Friday, the Dow DJIA, -2.83% posted a weekly decline of 3.3%, the S&P 500 SPX, -2.42% notched a 2.9% decline, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -2.59% fell 1.9% for the period.

What’s driving the market?

Appetite for risk is limited to start the week as coronavirus cases world-wide surpassed 10 million, with more a half-million deaths, with a dozen states, including Florida, Texas, California and Arizona, hot spots in the U.S., reversing reopening plans and implemented tighter restrictions to prevent a further spread of the viral epidemic, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said that the “window is closing” to managing the resurgence of the epidemic in the U.S., on Sunday during NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We’ve got the tools to do this,” Azar said. “But the window is closing, we have to act, and people as individuals have to act responsibility.” An inability to curtail the spread of COVID-19 will prove problematic for economic projections that factor in a sharp, V-shaped rebound of business activities, which been stalled or closed to address the public-health crisis.

The U.S. recorded more than 42,000 cases Saturday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, marking a second straight daily total over 40,000, even if it represented a decline of Friday’s record 45,255 tally. Florida, Nevada, George and South Carolina reported a surge in new cases on Saturday, Politico reported. Meanwhile, in China, industrial profits in May were up 6% from a year earlier, representing the first increase in 2020, official statistics released over the weekend showed.

Investors are expecting some turmoil due the holiday-shortened week and end-of-quarter activity from investment managers, including pensions and mutual funds. “In summary, with two days left before the quarter dies, window dressing is likely to increase volatility with some sectors gaining over others,” wrote Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities. “However, the trend is likely to remain negative ahead of this weeks key macro indicators and the upcoming earnings season,” he said, referring to corporate quarterly results that kick of in earnest in the middle of July.

Looking ahead, investors are watching for a report on pending home sales at 10 a.m.

Eastern Time and a manufacturing survey of the Dallas area from the Federal Reserve at 10:30 a.m.

New York Fed President John Williams is set to speak at 3 p.m.

Which stocks are in focus?

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