U.S. stock futures were higher early Monday, building on the previous week’s sharp gains on optimism over the economy reopening.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 216 points, or 0.8%. The move implied an opening gain of about 200 points. S&P 500 futures jumped 0.5%. Nasdaq-100 futures were up 0.1%.
Stocks tied to the reopening of the economy led the gains once again in premarket trading. Airlines, retailers and cruise lines were higher. United was up 10%. Kohl’s added 6%. Shares of Carnival Corp. were up more than 16%.
“What is clearly happening is the excitement of reopening is allowing a lot of these companies that have been casualties of Covid to come back and come back in force, ” said Stanley Druckenmiller, chairman and CEO of the Duquesne Family Office, on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “With a combination of the Fed money and, in particular, a vaccine where the news has been very, very good.”
“Well I’ve been humbled many times in my career, and I’m sure I’ll be many times in the future. And the last three weeks certainly fits that category,” added the legendary hedge fund manager, who admitted he missed the comeback because he underestimated the Federal Reserve.”
The Dow surged 6.8% last week while the S&P 500 jumped 4.9%. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 3.4% and closed at record levels for the first time since Feb. 19. The tech-heavy Nasdaq was the first of the three major indexes to trade back at all-time highs since the coronavirus pandemic shuttered the global economy.
Through Friday’s close, the S&P 500 is down just 1.1% for the year. At one point this year, the broader market index was down 30%.
A large portion of those weekly gains came Friday, when equities skyrocketed on the back of a surprise surge in U.S. employment. The Labor Department said Friday the economy added 2.5 million jobs in May, a record. Economists polled by Dow Jones had forecast a drop of more than 8 million.
“The 2.5 million rebound in employment last month reverses only a small fraction of the jobs lost since February,” said Michael Pearce, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics. “But considering we and the consensus had been braced for another large decline, it builds on the signs from some of the other macro data this week that economic activity is rebounding faster and more vigorously than we had anticipated.”
Friday’s report came as states continued their reopening processes. All 50 states have eased quarantine restrictions to some degree, with restaurants and other businesses resuming operations in some states.
Data compiled by OpenTable shows restaurant bookings across the U.S. are now 80% below last year’s levels. In April, bookings were down 100%. Hotel occupancy rates, home purchases and U.S. air travel have also started to increase.
OPEC and its allies agreed to extend their historic production cut over the weekend. The move boosted oil prices and energy stocks in the premarket Monday. Occidental Petroleum and Marathon Oil were up more than 18% in premarket trading.
Expectations of a swift economic recovery have sent stocks flying since hitting lows on March 23. In that time, the S&P 500 has rallied more than 45% while the Dow has gained over 48%.
“It appears that the most rapid bear market in history has been followed by the most dramatic recovery in history,” wrote Marc Chaikin, CEO of Chaikin Analytics. “While COVID-19 cases are still growing in certain states, particularly outside of densely populated urban areas, investors see the glass as half-full and are looking ahead 12-18 months.”
Stocks that benefit the most from the economy reopening have led the charge higher for the broader market.
JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup are both up more than 23% quarter to date while Hilton Worldwide is up 27.8%. American Airlines shares are up 52.5% in that time while Delta and United have gained 19.7% and 34.4%, respectively.
Investors will be concentrating on the Federal Reserve’s statement on interest rates Wednesday and a press conference from Chairman Jerome Powell. The Fed is expected to reiterate its commitment to unlimited asset purchases to keep markets functioning.
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