The Monday Market Minute
- Global stocks retreat from record highs as COVID cases top 90 million and lawmakers in Washington move to impeach the President.
- House Speak Nancy Pelosi will bring a resolution to the floor Monday calling for VP Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, after which impeachment procedures will commence.
- The U.S. dollar rebounds in cautious overnight trading, pushing oil prices lower; bitcoin slumps 21% from its all-time high of $42,000.
- Fourth quarter earnings reports start this week with numbers from JPMorgan, Citibank and Wells Fargo on Friday.
- U.S. equity futures suggest a cautious start to the trading week, with declines across the board, ahead of a Thursday speech from Fed Chair Jerome Powell and the first look at President Elect Biden’s fiscal proposals.
Wall Street futures retreated from all time highs Monday as investors plotted a cautious path ahead of the fourth quarter earnings season amid a groundswell to impeach President Donald and a surge in coronavirus infections powered by a new, faster-spreading variant.
House Speak Nancy Pelosi told Democratic lawmakers Sunday that she would first bring a non-binding resolution to the floor demanding Vice President Mike Pence invoke the 25h Amendment and remove Trump from office for his role in inciting a mob that storm the Capitol last week, causing the death of at least five people, including a police officer.
“In protecting our Constitution and our Democracy, we will act with urgency, because this President represents an imminent threat to both,” Pelosi said.
Impeachment articles would follow, Pelsoi said, if Pence doesn’t remove Trump from office, setting up the possibility of a bitter partisan battle that could overshadow President-Elect Joe Biden’s fist weeks in office.
That political tension is now set against a dangerous resurgence in coronavirus infections, which topped the 90 million mark on Monday, as the new and faster-spreading variant identified late last year in the United Kingdom, continues to be found in countries around the world
In the U.S., where total COVID cases have topped 22 million while vaccine rollouts have continued to stall amid bureaucratic wrangling between the states and the federal government, a impact on hiring and the broader services economy was notably apparent last week with the Labor Department’s tally of 140,000 lost jobs over the month of December.
And while stocks around the world have largely shrugged-off the impact of both political tensions and COVID’s resurgence over the past few months, Monday’s futures prices suggest more caution than optimism this week as investors prepared for the start of the fourth quarter earnings season and the new administration of President-Elect Biden.
Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average suggest a 175 point opening bell decline to start the trading week, while those linked to the S&P 500 are priced for an 18 point pullback from Friday’s record-high close of 3,824.68 points. Nasdaq Composite futures, meanwhile, are indicating a 65 point slip for the tech-focused benchmark.
The risk-market caution was evident in the overnight rise of the U.S. dollar, as well, which rose 0.42% against a basket of its global peers to trade at 90.482. Benchmark 10-year Treasury bond yields, however, remained stuck at a 10-month high of 1.105%.
Bitcoin, too, slumped more than 20% from its weekend highs of $42,000, and remained trading in the $35,000 range, amid the broader market sell-off.
European stocks were also in retreat Monday, with the Stoxx 600 falling 0.33%, lead by a 0.54% decline for the DAX performance index in Germany. Britain’s FTSE 100 was marked 0.48% lower in London.
In oil markets, crude prices slipped lower in concert with the U.S. dollar’s rise, but also on concerns for energy demand should governments impose new lockdown orders to thwart the spread of the virus.
U.S. crude futures for February delivery fell 45 cents from Friday’s close to $51.70 per barrel, while Brent contracts for March slumped 75 cents to $55.24 per barrel.
Overnight in Asia, trading liquidity was unusually thin owing to a national holiday in Japan, which kept stock markets closed in Tokyo, while a move by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to drop restrictions on contacts with Taiwan, which drew an inevitable response of condemnation from Beijing, kept regional stocks in the red.