Futures ease from all-time highs as virus cases surge

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective face mask walks by a closed store, as the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, along Wall Street in the financial district of New York, U.S., November 19, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures slipped from record levels on Monday, as investors assessed a surge in coronavirus cases and faltering economic indicators following a solid run on hopes of more fiscal stimulus.

Global infections surpassed 90 million and several health experts said the rollout of vaccines in many countries will not provide herd immunity from the pandemic this year, citing limited access for poor countries, community trust problems and potential virus mutations.

After official data pointed to a significant slowdown in labor market recovery on Friday, investors will focus on inflation, retail sales and consumer sentiment indicators this week to gauge the extent of economic damage.

Bets on a rebound in business activity in 2021 fueled by vaccine rollouts, larger checks and infrastructure spending under U.S. President-elect Joe Biden have underpinned Wall Street’s rise to recent peaks.

Fourth-quarter results from JP Morgan, Citi and Wells Fargo on Friday will kick-off the earnings season, which could offer more clues on if company executives reflect the enthusiasm of a rebound in 2021 earnings and the economy.

At 06:17 a.m. ET, Dow E-minis were down 203 points, or 0.65% and S&P 500 E-minis were down 21.5 points, or 0.56%. Nasdaq 100 E-minis were down 52.75 points, or 0.4%.

Later in the day, U.S. House of Representatives Democrats plan a vote to urge Vice President Mike Pence to take steps to remove President Donald Trump from office after his supporters’ deadly storming of the Capitol, before attempting to impeach him again.

Twitter’s shares slumped 6% premarket after it permanently suspended U.S. President Donald Trump’s account late on Friday.

U.S.-listed shares of Baidu Inc rose 6% after the Chinese search engine giant said it will set up a company to partner with carmaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group to make smart electric vehicles (EV).

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