Dow futures rise as Trump administration signals that coronavirus outbreak may be stabilizing

Stock-index futures rose sharply Sunday night as investors appeared eager to focus on a glimmer of optimism coming out of the White House about the potential for stabilization of the rapid spread of the worst viral outbreak in generations.

What are major indexes doing?

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average
were up 643 points, or 3.1%, at 21,600; those for the S&P 500 index
were rising 76.30 points, or 31.%, at 2,559; while Nasdaq-100 futures
advanced 270.50 points, or 3.6%, at 7,793.25.

On Friday, the Dow
was 360.91 points, 1.7%, lower to end at 21,052.53, while the S&P 500
lost 38.25 points, or 1.5%, to close at 2,488.65. The Nasdaq Composite Index
lost 114.23 points, or 1.5%, to end at 7,373.08.

For the week, the Dow lost 2.7%, the S&P 500 declined 2.1% and the Nasdaq put in a weekly drop of 1.7%.

What’s driving the market?

President Donald Trump adopted a somewhat sanguine tone during a Sunday news briefing that may have given some investors cause for hope, even as he warned, along with experts, that the days and weeks ahead may be some of the toughest in the pandemic era.

“The U.S. will reach a horrific point in terms of death, but it will be a point where things will start changing for the better,” he said Sunday evening.

Vice President Mike Pence said “we’re starting to see glimmers of progress,” referring to efforts to slow the spread of the deadly pathogen that has infected more 1.3 million people and claimed nearly 70,000 lives worldwide. In the U.S., some 330,000 have become infected with the illness, which has shut down swaths of the economy here and elsewhere in the world.

The week ahead is likely to be a tough one for investors. Cities including New York, Detroit and New Orleans are expected to see a surge in infections in the coming days, according to experts.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams over the weekend said that the week ahead may be the hardest week for Americans since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and other tragedies. “This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it’s not going to be localized,” he told Fox News on Sunday.

“It’s going to be happening all over the country. And I want America to understand that,” he said.

Meanwhile, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said Sunday that he didn’t believe the U.S. economy or jobs market was in “free fall” as the coronavirus sweeps the country.

“We’re asking people to stay home to invest in national health, and we’re asking them to use the unemployment insurance program in order to get the transfers they need to be able to pay bills while they’re at home, while they’re not able to work because health authorities are trying to get the virus under control,” Bullard said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

On Friday, markets ended sharply lower after the worst jobs report in 11 years.

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