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Stock futures halted for trading as investors await stimulus bill


Stocks were poised to extend losses Monday after posting their worst week since the financial crisis, as Congressional legislation to fight the coronavirus pandemic hit an impasse in Congress. 

On Sunday evening, futures for the Dow Jones industrial average tumbled more than 900 points while Standard & Poor’s 500 futures fell 5%, triggering an automatic shock absorber. 

Investors were monitoring negotiations between Congress and the White House in hopes of a resolution on a $1 trillion-plus economic rescue package that aims to soften the economic damage from the virus. The package, however, failed to get enough votes in a key Senate procedural vote late Sunday.

Investors are looking for the number of infections to slow before markets can bottom, analysts say. The U.S., which confirmed more than 31,000 cases and 390 deaths as of Sunday afternoon, trailed only Italy and China in reported infections. 

“No one knows how long it will take for this to subside,” says Sean O’Hara, president of Pacer ETF Distributors at Pacer Financial. “What matters is how long we’re going to continue to stifle economic activity as a result of the spread of this virus. Until we open up commerce again, there’s not much Congress can really do. Those measures will certainly be helpful once we’re on the other side of this, but the market won’t bottom until the number of new cases peak.”



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