Stock Futures Plummet as New COVID-19 Cases Surge

The weekend brought another record spike

Assistant Editor
Oct 26, 2020 at 9:27 AM
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Stock futures are set to begin the week deep in the red, after the U.S. reported a record surge in new coronavirus cases, while optimism waned concerning a new stimulus deal. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) are down nearly 300 points, as the weekend brought 83,000 new infections -- well above the previous record of 77,300 --  according to data from John Hopkins University.  

Meanwhile, S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX) futures are considerably lower, as well, as Republicans and Democrats struggle to come together on a new stimulus deal before the election. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi even went as far as to accuse each other in separate interviews of shifting the goalposts on the talks.

Continue reading for more on today's market, including:

  • Five pot stocks to keep an eye on this week -- including Amazon.
  • Two-year highs are within reach for Caterpillar stock just before earnings.
  • Plus, AstraZeneca reported positive vaccine news; behind the Dunkin' Brands buyout; and Facebook's latest analyst note.

Futures Chart October 26

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE) saw more than 1.5 million call contracts traded on Friday, and 823,766 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio rose to 0.53 and the 21-day moving average stayed at 0.47. 
  2. AstraZeneca plc (NASDAQ:AZN) is making waves this morning, last seen unchanged in pre-market trading, after the company announced similar immune responses in older and younger adults during a clinical trial for its COVID-19 vaccine. Longer term, the drugmaker has tacked on 6% in 2020.
  3. Dunkin' Brands Group Inc (NASDAQ:DNKN) said it was in talks to be bought by Arby's and Jimmy John's parent company, Inspire Brands, according to a New York Times report. Inspire Brands reportedly plans on taking the company private for $106.50 per share -- a 20% premium to Friday's close. As a result, Dunkin' stock is down 0.4% ahead of the bell, but up 20% year-over-year.
  4. Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) is up 2.4% before the open, after KeyBanc Capital Markets lifted its price target to $340 from $330. The analyst said FB was attractively valued at the moment, and cited robust advertising spending. So far this year, the social media giant is up 38.8%.
  5. The week starts off with the Chicago Fed national activity index as well as new home sales data for September. On the earnings docket will be Beyond Meat (BYND), Chegg (CHGG), HCA (HCA), and Twilio (TWLO).

buzz chart oct 26

European Stocks Lower Amid Record COVID Cases

Stocks in Asia were mostly lower after today’s session, with investors monitoring the international rise in coronavirus cases. China’s Shanghai Composite fell 0.8%, ahead of the central committee of China’s ruling Communist Party’s meeting in Beijing this week – where leaders will plan out the next five years. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was closed for holiday, while Japan’s Nikkei and the South Korean Kospi dropped 0.09% and 0.7%, respectively.

In Europe, the markets are similarly lower midday. The French CAC 40 is down 0.8%, amid a record 139,000 new coronavirus cases in the past three days, compared to the 132,000 new cases registered from mid-March to mid-May earlier this year. Elsewhere, London’s FTSE 100 is down 0.3%, and the German DAX points 2.6% lower, after the October business climate index from the country’s IFO Institute slipped.

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