Stock futures fall slightly as investors monitor efforts to reopen the economy

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The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen in the financial district of lower Manhattan during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, U.S., April 26, 2020.
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen in the financial district of lower Manhattan during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, U.S., April 26, 2020.
Jeenah Moon | Reuters

Stocks futures fell slightly in overnight trading on Monday as investors evaluated the latest attempts to reopen the economy.

Futures on Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped about 45 points, while the S&P 500 futures were trading near the flat line. The Nasdaq 100 futures were also little changed.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose for a sixth day in the previous session, posting its longest winning streak this year. With Monday’s gain, the gauge is firmly in the green on the year, up 2.4% and sitting just 6.5% from its record high reached on Feb. 19.

The Dow fell about 100 points to start the week, while the S&P 500 was little changed on Monday.

Investors continued to pile into tech firms whose businesses proved to have the most resilient in the age of coronavirus crisis. Shares of Amazon and Netflix both soared more than 30% this year, while Microsoft gained 18%. Chip maker Nvidia also hit an all-time high on Monday, bringing its 2020 gains to 37%.

Chart of the three major averages showing year-to-date performance, with the NASDAQ the only one positive

While bouncing swiftly from their March lows, the S&P 500 and the Dow are still well in the negative territory for the year, down 9.3% and 15.1%, respectively. Energy remained the worst-performing sector among the 11 S&P 500 groupings, with a 36% loss in 2020.

“Growth has been bulletproof in 2020,” Stephen Suttmeier, Bank of America’s technical research strategist, said in a note on Monday. “No change in leadership as the 2020 parabolic rise for Growth vs Value achieves the Y2K Tech Bubble peaks.”

Meanwhile, traders continued to weigh attempts to reopen economies against fears of an increase in coronavirus cases that could lead to future lockdowns.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday the state’s restrictions on certain low-risk businesses and activities will lift on Friday. The World Health Organization said several countries that eased coronavirus restrictions, including China, have seen increases in the number of positive Covid-19 cases.

“Markets have been torn between optimism on the tentative re-opening of some economies and caution on the still grim economic data,” Mike Pyle, global chief investment strategist at BlackRock Investment Institute, said in a note. “Markets will watch out for any cracks in the financial system and elsewhere in the economy as virus infections climb.”

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