Dow Futures Extend Gains, With Fresh Record Highs in Sight, As Congress Approves $2,000 COVID Payments

The Tuesday Market Minute

  • Global stocks extend gains as U.S. lawmakers vote to approve direct coronavirus relief payments from $600 to $2,000.
  • Congress easily passes expanded spending, but Senate lawmakers remain divided heading into a likely vote on Wednesday.
  • European stocks hit 10-month high as Brexit agreement adds tailwind to regional markets following last night’s record close on Wall Street. 
  • U.S. equity futures suggest a firmer open as the 2020 ‘Santa Claus’ rally carries stocks to fresh record highs.

U.S. equity futures point to another triple set of record highs for Wall Street Tuesday as markets continue to rally on hopes of expanded coronavirus stimulus payments and fading Brexit risks.

Congressional lawmakers voted 275-134 last night in favor of expanding the $600 direct payment agreed in last week’s $2.3 trillion spending bill to $2,000, following pleas from President Donald Trump, handing its fate to the Republican-controlled Senate later this week.

The move hems in GOP lawmakers, however, who must choose between providing deeper relief for struggling American families or standing by their previous comments regarding the strength of the domestic economy and the size of the nation’s ballooning budget deficit. 

Stocks shrugged-off those concerns yesterday, however, with record highs for all three U.S. benchmarks by the close of trading that look set to extend into today’s session, with futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial indicating a 150 point opening bell gain and those linked to the S&P 500 suggesting a 17 point advance.

Boeing  (BA) – Get Report shares edged higher in pre-market trading as American Airlines  (AAL) – Get Report readied the planemaker’s 737 MAX for the first U.S. commercial flight since its grounding in March of 2019. 

European stocks got a bump, as well, rising for the third day in succession to trade at the highest levels since February, boosted in part by last week’s Brexit trade deal between London and Brussels that ends four and a half years of painstaking negotiations, as well a Britain’s 50-year relationship with the world’s biggest economic bloc.

AstraZeneca  (AZN) – Get Report was a notable early-market mover in London, rising 4.4% amid reports that the U.K. is set to approve the drugmaker’s coronavirus vaccine, developed with Oxford University, as early as this week.

The U.S. dollar index, meanwhile, fell 0.32% against a basket of six global currency peers to trade at 90.05, the lowest levels since April of 2018, as CFTC data shows short positions in the greenback reached the highest levels in at least three months. 

Oil prices got a lift from the dollar weakness, with U.S. crude contracts rising 68 cents to $48.30 per barrel and Brent jumping 72 cents to $51.58 per barrel in thin holiday trading.

Overnight in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 added to its recent rally with a 2.66% gain that pegged the benchmark at 27.568.15 points, the highest in nearly 3 decades, while the region-wide MSCI ex-Japan benchmark rose 0.5% to 646.00 points heading into the final hours of trading.