Stock futures fell in night trading on Sunday amid fears that rising coronavirus cases could slow the global economy.
The losses came as England passed a stay home order and traders prepared for Tuesday’s US presidential election, where a controversial presidential or Senate battle could delay a much-needed fiscal stimulus to the US economy.
The futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 100 points. S&P 500 futures were down 0.3% and Nasdaq 100 futures were also down 0.3%.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Saturday that England would close all non-essential stores for the next four weeks after more than 22,600 weekly Covid-19 cases were reported in the UK, well above the first high of 4,800 average weekly cases in the spring lie. People are being told to stay home unless it is for essential purposes, Johnson said.
The US is also grappling with a surge in new coronavirus infections. According to Johns Hopkins University, the nation reported 99,321 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, beating its previous record, which had been set just the day before. The top five records in daily cases were all reported within the last eight days.
Ahead of Tuesday’s election, Joe Biden has a significant national lead over President Donald Trump. According to a poll by NBC News / Wall Street Journal on Sunday, the former vice president received 52% of support from registered voters versus 42% for the president.
The Senate elections could also be crucial for the markets, as many important policy changes, including other fiscal incentives, depend on who has majority control.
“The world is still largely on hold as investors wait for clarity in the US election,” said Adam Crisafulli, founder of Vital Knowledge, in a note on Sunday. “The world will likely be a lot clearer in a few days as the elections are over, business talks resume in Washington, and the central bank continues to receive support.”
The blue-chip Dow just ended October with a loss of 4.6%, marking its worst monthly performance since March. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq fell 2.8% and 2.3% respectively last month, both suffering their second consecutive negative month.
The top averages have seen their worst week since March 20, when coronavirus cases spiked, fiscal stimulus negotiations fell apart, and stocks of megacap tech companies like Apple and Amazon plummeted following their quarterly earnings reports.
Volatility hit a four month high during last week’s share price. The Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), also known as the “fear measure” of the market, briefly jumped above 40.
Some on Wall Street believe the pre-election day sell-off offers the market less downside risk for a controversial outcome.
“While we worry that there might be another downward wave if we get another large influx of uncertainty, we think the stock market is now preparing well for good net progress over the next two months.” said Matt Maley, chief marketing strategist at Miller Tobacco, said in a note on Sunday.
Elections aside, investors face other important events later this week, including a Federal Reserve meeting and October’s employment report.
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