Stock futures muted after S&P 500, Dow hit over two-week high

By Devik Jain

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures were subdued on Tuesday as investors booked profits after a rally that sent the S&P 500 and the Dow to their highest levels in more than two weeks, while awaiting signs Washington was close to agreeing on more fiscal stimulus.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke by phone on Monday about fresh relief measures and were preparing to talk again on Tuesday.

Comments from officials that a deal was still possible had lifted Wall Street’s main indexes in the previous session, helping them recoup losses from last week that were sparked by news that President Donald Trump had contracted COVID-19.

Trump returned to the White House on Monday from the Walter Reed Medical Center military hospital, but faced fresh backlash for removing his mask upon his return and urging Americans not to fear the disease that has killed more than 209,000 in the United States.

At 6:37 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis <1YMcv1> were up 11 points, or 0.04%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 5.75 points, or 0.17%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 39.75 points, or 0.35%.

Growing political uncertainty in the run up to the presidential elections and mixed macroeconomic data have increased volatility in U.S. stocks, with the benchmark S&P 500 <.SPX> and the tech-heavy Nasdaq <.IXIC> about 5% and 6% below their respective record highs hit more than a month ago. Inc , Apple Inc , Facebook Inc and Google-owner Alphabet Inc , which have together dominated Wall Street’s recovery from its coronavirus lows in March, fell in light premarket trading.

The companies have faced intense regulatory scrutiny into their quest for global market share, and the U.S. House of Representatives’ antitrust report contains a “thinly veiled call to break up” the companies, Republican Congressman Ken Buck said in a draft response seen by Reuters.

All eyes later in the day will be on an address by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell at a virtual meeting of the National Association for Business Economics, where global central bankers are likely to present their plans about how much more they can do to prevent an economic depression.

U.S.-listed shares of BioNTech <22UAy.F> jumped 9.7% after the European health regulator said it had started a real-time review of the COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the German biotech firm and U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc . Pfizer’s shares rose 1.7%.

(Reporting by Devik Jain and Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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