US stock futures tumble amid COVID-19 surge, stimulus doubts

US stock futures sank Monday as a nationwide surge in coronavirus infections and a dim outlook for another stimulus package roiled Wall Street.

Futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones industrial average were down 260.00 points, or 0.9 percent, at 27,929.00 as of 7:39 a.m. after the US recorded more than 83,000 new COVID-19 cases on both Friday and Saturday — breaking the previous mid-July peak of about 77,000.

Futures linked to the benchmark S&P 500 index were similarly down 0.8 percent as of 7:40 a.m., while futures for the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 were recently off about 0.6 percent.

Investors appeared rattled by the new resurgence in the virus, which could do even more damage during the colder fall and winter months. Recent spikes in infections have led to renewed lockdown measures in European countries such as the UK and Italy, raising further questions about the pandemic’s economic harm.

It also looks increasingly unlikely that Congress and the Trump administration will reach a deal on a new stimulus bill to blunt the virus’s economic impact before the Nov. 3 presidential election. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that she’s not giving up hope for an agreement, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has reportedly opposed a large-scale spending package.

“With so much event risk on the horizon this week, I feel that sustained gains will be hard to come by for equity markets unless a US fiscal package magically appears,” Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA, said in a commentary. “Investors are far more likely, in my opinion, to take risk off the table ahead of [Election Day].”

Wall Street looked poised to follow European and Asian markets lower in the final full week of trading before the election. Shanghai’s SSE Composite index closed down 0.8 percent and South Korea’s KOSPI posted a 0.7 percent drop. London’s FTSE 100 was off about 0.2 percent as of 7:37 a.m., while Germany’s DAX was recently down about 2.3 percent.

With Post wires

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