Stock futures hold steady as investors eye pipeline cyberattack

Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Futures contracts held steady at the start of the overnight session Sunday evening, suggesting that the major US equity indexes could trade at or near records when regular trading opens in New York.

Dow futures gained 35 points, while those linked to the S&P 500 rose 0.1%. Nasdaq 100 futures added 0.2%.

The moves in extended trading came after last week’s trading ended on an upbeat note with both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 hitting fresh all-time highs on Friday.

Last week, the Dow rallied 2.7% and the S&P 500 gained 1.2%. Despite a 0.9% rally on the week’s final session, the Nasdaq Composite shed 1.5% over the same period.

The late-week optimism came despite a far-weaker-than-expected April jobs report, which showed that US employers added 266,000 net payrolls last month. Economists polled by Dow Jones had expected 1 million additions.

Mike Wilson, chief US equity strategist at Morgan Stanley, noted that traders appear to have already priced a robust economic reopening thanks to declining Covid-19 cases. Any news that could threaten that narrative could quickly impact where portfolio managers allocate cash

“We’re watching expectations vs reality with the market now well priced for reopening. On a cumulative basis, retail sales are above where they would have been on pre-COVID trends – suggesting some expectations risk around the pent up demand narrative,” Wilson wrote over the weekend.

“The labor market has less slack than is typical at this point in the cycle,” he added. “We recommend moving up the quality curve and adding more defensive balance as the market shifts toward mid-cycle leadership.”

A ransomware attack forced the closure of the largest US fuel pipeline over the weekend. Colonial Pipeline, which operates a 5,500-mile system, said it was forced to halt the transport of fuel from the Gulf Coast to the New York metro area on Friday as it “took certain systems offline to contain the threat.”

The ultimate impact of the attack on fuel prices remains unclear, and analysts say the length of the shutdown will have the greatest impact.

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