US stock index futures rose on Monday even as Beijing reaffirmed over the weekend that it would stick to its strict COVID-19 curbs, while investor focus shifted to Tuesday’s U.S. midterm elections that will determine control of Congress.
Republicans have picked up momentum in polls and analysts see a split government, with the GOP winning the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate, as the likely outcome possibly hindering Democratic President Joe Biden’s agenda.
“A split government is generally good for the equity markets because that puts a bit of a gridlock on certain policy changes,” Daniela Hathorn, market analyst at Capital.com, said.
“In general we have seen stocks perform better after a split government, I expect that to continue.”
US consumer prices for October are due to be released on Thursday. Economists expect the annual consumer prices inflation to slow to 8.0% and the core numbers to dip to 6.5%.
Both the midterm elections and inflation are likely to provide major cues for Wall Street after a volatile week dominated by mixed jobs report and hawkish comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell.
At least seven Fed officials are scheduled to speak this week, with traders pricing in a 69% chance of a half-point rate hike next month to 4.25%-4.50%.
All the three major US stock indexes are in bear market territory, from their previous record closing highs.
The benchmark S&P 500 index has lost nearly 20.9% year-to-date due to geopolitical tensions between Russia and the West and fears that aggressive policy tightening by the Fed could cause a US Recession.
At 6:37 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 191 points, or 0.59%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 23.75 points, or 0.63%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 71 points, or 0.65%.
The CBOE Volatility index, also known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, rose to 25.32 points a day after closing at its lowest since Sept. 13.
Apple Inc fell 1% in premarket trading after the company said it expected lower shipments of premium iPhone 14 models than previously anticipated.
Meta Platforms Inc jumped 3.3% following a report that the Facebook parent was planning to begin large-scale layoffs this week that will affect thousands of employees.
US-listed shares of Chinese firms JD.Com Inc, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Baidu Inc rose between 1.6% and 2.8%, despite Beijing’s reaffirmation of its strict COVID-19 policies over the weekend.
Digital World Acquisition Corp surged 33.2% as former US President Donald Trump hinted at another White House bid. The blank check firm has agreed to take social-media startup Trump Media & Technology Group Corp public.