Stock Futures Wobble With Dow, S&P 500 at Record Highs
By Anna Hirtenstein
U.S. stock futures wobbled Monday, suggesting that the major
indexes will pause after notching records at the end of last
Futures tied to the S&P 500 ticked down 0.1%. Contracts
linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.2% and
Nasdaq-100 futures wavered between gains and losses.
Investors are starting the week on a cautious note on concern
that the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines is facing some hiccups. A
string of blue-chip companies are scheduled to report earnings this
week, and will offer a view on businesses' expectations for the
pace of economic revival. Money managers are looking to gauge
whether stocks' high valuations are justified after the recent
rally took the Dow and S&P 500 to closing records last
"After a big move, you get a pause of breath and a bit of a
reassessment, " said Caroline Simmons, U.K. chief investment
officer at UBS Asset Management. "People are reassessing, waiting
for newsflow that might indicate that growth and inflation remain
U.S. health authorities decided to recommend pausing the use of
the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to concerns about improper
treatment of blood clots, The Wall Street Journal reported over the
weekend. Health officials are now looking at limiting the J&J
vaccine to older people, among options, and could make public a
decision as early as this week.
On the earnings front, this week will see a number of large
companies report first-quarter results, with Coca-Cola scheduled to
post its numbers around 6:55 a.m. ET. International Business
Machines is expected to report after the close.
"I expect the earnings picture is going to remain very buoyant
across the picture and for the momentum to stay very positive,"
said Fahad Kamal, chief investment officer of Kleinwort Hambros.
"As long as earnings meet what are very heightened expectations,
the rally can keep going."
In bond markets, Treasury yields declined sharply toward the end
of last week and continued to edge down on Monday. The 10-year
yield ticked down to 1.561%, from 1.571% on Friday. Yields fall
when bond prices rise.
"The slowdown in vaccine rollouts and increased lockdowns could
be having a marginal influence on bond yields," said Ms. Simmons.
"People are seeking safe havens."
In currency markets, the Russian ruble weakened 0.5% against the
dollar. U.S. officials warned that there would be consequences if
opposition politician Alexei Navalny dies in prison. Calls for mass
protests in cities across Russia also mounted. The ruble has lost
nearly 3% of its value this year.
Bitcoin edged up nearly 1% to about $56,900, regaining some
ground after plunging nearly 12% over the weekend, according to
data from CoinDesk. Turkey's central bank on Friday said it would
ban the use of cryptocurrencies as a form of payment.
"The [cryptocurrency market] is really on edge right now," said
Joel Kruger, a currency strategist at LMAX. "There were concerns
over the weekend after Turkey came out with the news of major
regulatory restrictions coming into force."
Some traders were speculating that the U.S. Treasury could make
a similar decision, he said.
Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 edged up 0.2%, on
track to notch a record closing high for the third consecutive
In Asia, most major benchmarks ticked up by the end of the day.
The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 1.5% for its best day in over
three weeks. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.5%. India's benchmark
stock index fell 1.9% as Covid-19 cases continued to climb.
Write to Anna Hirtenstein at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 19, 2021 05:35 ET (09:35 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.