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

(Bloomberg) — U.S. equity futures rose Monday and the dollar was steady against major peers as traders weighed spiking coronavirus cases and a weekend pledge from China’s central bank of greater economic support.

Most Read from Bloomberg

S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 contracts gained, while those for Japan earlier pointed to a muted start. Crude oil and gold slipped. Bitcoin was trading at about $51,000 after a steady period over Christmas.

Asian shares ended Friday mixed despite an all-time high for the S&P 500. Some stock markets are closed or have truncated hours and volumes may be thinner than usual.

Reports indicated new daily U.S. infections with the omicron virus variant have surpassed those in the delta wave, while China posted the highest number of local cases since January. The pathogen is causing disruption, including the cancellation of almost 2,400 flights over the holiday weekend in the U.S.

In China, the central bank on Saturday pledged greater support for the real economy and said it will make monetary policy more forward-looking and targeted, amid expectations of easing as a property-sector slowdown saps economic growth.

China’s possible policy loosening contrasts with steps by the Federal Reserve and other central banks to fight high inflation by scaling back stimulus. The outlook for monetary policy, the virus and company earnings are shaping thinking about whether global stocks can keep rising after nearly doubling from pandemic lows.

Elsewhere, Chinese regulators plan tighter scrutiny of overseas share sales by domestic firms and intend to ban those that could pose a national security threat, Beijing’s latest step to crack down on listings abroad.

On the virus front, Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s top medical adviser, said Americans should stay vigilant against the omicron variant despite evidence its symptoms may be less severe because the volume of cases can still overwhelm hospitals.

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

  • China industrial profits, Monday

  • U.S. initial jobless claims, Thursday

For more market analysis, read our MLIV blog.

Some of the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • S&P 500 futures rose 0.2% as of 8:15 a.m. in Tokyo. The S&P 500 index rose 0.6% on Thursday

  • Nasdaq 100 futures increased 0.3%. The Nasdaq 100 index climbed 0.8% on Thursday

  • Nikkei 225 futures fell 0.3% earlier

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.1% on Thursday

  • The euro was at $1.1323

  • The Japanese yen was at 114.37 per dollar

  • The offshore yuan was at 6.3745 per dollar

Bonds

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.6% to $73.36 a barrel on Thursday

  • Gold was at $1,808.15 an ounce, down 0.5%

Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.