Stock futures traded flat as overnight trading kicked off, as lackluster prospects for more stimulus and concerns over the timeline for developing of a Covid-19 vaccine and treatment weighed on investors. Each of the S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq declined for the first time in five sessions as of Tuesday’s close.
An impasse among U.S. lawmakers in Washington has kept hopes running low that more virus relief aid will come to fruition before the November election. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he will have the Senate take up relief legislation after the chamber’s return on Monday, with his narrower proposal set to include funds chiefly targeted to the Paycheck Protection Program. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, however, has rejected slimmed-down stimulus proposals and deemed them inadequate, and even President Donald Trump said on Tuesday on Twitter to “Go big or go home!!!” for more stimulus.
Meanwhile, a pair of front-runners in the race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine and treatment announced that their respective trials were put on pause over safety concerns. Eli Lilly (LLY) said Tuesday afternoon that enrollment for its Covid-19 treatment would be temporarily halted, less then a day after Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) said clinical trials for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate were paused due to an unexplained illness in a participant. Shares of Eli Lilly and Johnson & Johnson were little changed overnight after dropping during Tuesday’s session.
Shares of Bank of America (BAC) and Goldman Sachs (GS) traded slightly higher in late trading, with each company set to report quarterly results before the bell on Wednesday. The results will follow those of peer banks JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, both of which topped estimates for third-quarter results on the back of strong trading revenues, and reported a decrease in credit loss provisions over the previous quarter.
Still, the financials sector lagged during the regular session Tuesday, after JPMorgan’s management clarified during their earnings call that the bank’s decrease in its reserve build for bad loans did not necessarily reflect an improvement in their outlook on the economy. Elsewhere, analysts probed Citi’s executives over ongoing regulatory risks following a $400 million civil penalty announced earlier this month.
6:05 p.m. ET Tuesday: Stock futures hug the flat line in late trading
Here were the main moves in equity markets, as of 6:05 p.m. ET:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,504.00, down 0.75 points or 0.02%
Dow futures (YM=F): 28,587.00, up 2 points or 0.01%
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 12,090.75, up down 3.25 points or 0.03%