U.S. sees highest number of new coronavirus cases in nearly two months


Certified nursing assistant (CNA) Jermaine LeFlore prepares to take a patient’s nasal swab at a drive-thru testing site outside the Southside Health Center as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S., October 21, 2020.

Bing Guan | Reuters

Futures tied to major U.S. equity benchmarks traded lower in overnight trading Sunday as Wall Street headed for the last full trading week ahead of Election Day.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dipped about 150 points, indicating a loss of 190 points at Monday’s open. The S&P 500 futures and the Nasdaq 100 futures both fell 0.5%.

The decline in futures came amid a record surge in new coronavirus cases in the U.S. The country saw more than 83,000 new infections on both Friday and Saturday after outbreaks in Sun Belt states, surpassing a previous record of roughly 77,300 cases set in July, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Sunday that the U.S. will not get control of the pandemic amid the surge in new cases. Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff and three aides tested positive for coronavirus, but his office said he will not quarantine himself.

This week marks the last week of October and the final trading period before Nov. 3. Major averages are on track for modest gains for the month, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both rising more than 3% so far. The 30-stock Dow is up about 2% this month.

“Based on the action in the stock market we’ve seen over the past two weeks, it seems to us that it will take some serious new-news to fuel a significant decline over the next week and a half,” Matt Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak, said in a note on Sunday.

Former Vice President Joe Biden maintains a sizable lead over President Donald Trump in national polls, although the gap has narrowed slightly as of late.

Traders will keep their eyes peeled for a raft of Big Tech and blue-chip corporate earnings as well as key economic data this week. Apple, Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon, Boeing and Caterpillar all report later in the week, while the first look at third quarter GDP is due on Thursday.

The Dow and the S&P 500 are coming off their first losing week in four as talks over the next coronavirus stimulus package dragged on. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is “still dug in” on a number of issues in the aid deal.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield jumped to a four-month high of 0.84% last week, sparking a rally in bank stocks.

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