Dow poised to open flat, a day after stock market snaps 4-session win streak

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U.S. stock-index futures suggested a steady open for equities Wednesday, a day after a four-session win streak was brought to a halt amid concerns about coronavirus treatments and vaccines.

Investors have been parsing corporate earnings from prominent banks to assess the impact of COVID-19 on businesses.

The U.S. economic calendar on the day is light but investors await an inflation reading of producer prices.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)(YMZ0) were up 10 points, or less than 0.1%, at 28,597; those for the S&P 500 index (S)(ESZ0) were virtually flat at 3,503; while Nasdaq-100 futures (NASDA)(NQZ0) were 30 points, 0.3%, higher, at 12,127

On Tuesday, The Dow (DJIA) fell157.71 points or 0.55% to 28679.81, while the S&P 500 (SPX) fell 22.29 points or 0.63% to 3,511.93. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) edged 12.36 points lower, or 0.1%, to close at 11,863.90. All three major equity benchmarks snapped four-day winning streaks.

Wednesday marked the second full day of corporate quarterly earnings from the likes of Bank of America (BAC) Goldman Sachs (GS) and Wells Fargo (WFC) for signs of the health of the U.S. economy, coming a day after JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Citigroup (C) posted better-than-expected results, while warning that the economy has a long road ahead to recover from the worst pandemic in more than a century.

Bank of America reported $20.45 billion in total revenue, missing the $20.8 billion estimate of analysts surveyed by Refinitv, while income was at $4.9 billion, or 51 cents a share, from $5.8 billion, or 56 cents a share, in the year-ago period, but above the FactSet consensus of 49 cents a share.

Meanwhile, Goldman reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue that helped to boost the investment bank’s shares in premarket trade. The bank reported earnings per share of $9.68 per share, compared with $5.57 expected by Refinitiv’s consensus estimates, while revenue came in at $10.78 billion, versus consensus estimates for $9.46 billion.

Beyond the earnings, concerns about the global spread of coronavirus in the autumn and winter in the northern hemisphere were rising.

The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. hospitalizations are at their highest level since Aug. 29, citing data from the COVID Tracking Project. Jitters about out-of-control infections come after two drug trials were halted within about 24 hours, as Eli Lilly (LLY) said that it paused an antibody treatment for the illness created by the novel strain of coronavirus, a day after Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) said that it temporarily halted a vaccine trial.

Although, such pauses in experimental drug trials are common, the white-hot focus on finding a remedy and treatments for the disease that has stricken some 38 million people globally has amplified anxieties.

Wall Street worries also extend to a lack of additional fiscal stimulus from Congress to help businesses and Americans deeply wounded by the economic fallout of measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Read: Coronavirus tally: Global cases of COVID-19 38.2 million, 1.09 million deaths and U.S. death tolls nears 216,000

All of these factors come amid a looming 2020 presidential election in early November that could inject an additional jolt of volatility into the stock market as Democratic challenger and former Vice President Joe Biden and incumbent Donald Trump compete for leadership of the country over the next four years—a political race that may also be undermining lawmakers’ will to do more on stimulus, analysts say.

However, growing expectations that a decisive Democratic victory in the presidential race and in Congress, or a so-called “blue wave”, will result from the elections, has fostered some hope for more significant and broader array of economic stimulus.

“Sentiment was knocked on Tuesday when stimulus talks once again stalled in Washington, with the two sides seemingly no closer to an agreement on much needed support,” wrote Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, in a note.

“There hasn’t been great news this week on the Covid fight either, with more restrictions being imposed across Europe, J&J pausing its vaccine trials after a participant fell ill and Eli Lilly halting clinical trials of its antibody treatment over a safety concern,” the analyst wrote.

 Meanwhile, market participants are keeping one eye on talks between Britain and Europe to execute an orderly exit from the European Union, with self-imposed deadline of Thursday looming.

“Wire reports this morning indicate EU leaders will say at a two-day summit on Thursday-Friday, that not enough progress has been made for a deal to be reached and that they will step up no-deal preparations,” said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst for Markets.com.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note (BX:TMUBMUSD10Y) dipped 1.3 basis points to 0.718%. Yields and bond prices move in opposite directions.

In global equities, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index and Japan’s Nikkei 225 both closed fractionally 0.1% higher. The pan-European Stoxx 600 Europeand London’s FTSE 100  were both down 0.2%.

Gold (GCZ0) gained 0.4% to rise to $1,902. Oil futures pulled back, pushing the U.S. benchmark (CRUD) down 19 cents per barrel, or 0.5%, to $40.01 a barrel.

The greenback was 0.1% lower at 93.48, based on the ICE U.S. Dollar Index (DXY)

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