U.S. stock futures were under pressure on Monday, with investors rattled by the spread of the delta coronavirus variant, a factor that contributed to a downgrade of China growth by Goldman Sachs. Gold and oil prices continued to fall, following Friday’s strong jobs data.
Where are stock markets trading now?
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures
fell 0.3%, or nearly 100 points, to 35,001
S&P 500 futures
fell 0.2% to 4,420
dropped 0.09% to 15,083
On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
rose 144.26 points, or 0.4%, to a record 35,208.51. The S&P 500 index
added 7.42 points, or 0.2%, to a record 4,436.52. The Nasdaq Composite Index
fell 59.36 points, or 0.4%, to 14,835.76.
For the week, the Dow gained 0.8%, while the S&P 500 advanced 0.9% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 1.1%.
What’s driving the markets?
A better-than-expected July employment report, with 943,000 new jobs created and the unemployment rate falling to 5.4% from 5.9%, drove records for the Dow industrials and the S&P 500. That briefly helped offset concerns surging COVID-19 cases, driven by the delta coronavirus variant, will slow economic growth.
“With the market focus on jobs over for now, the short-term direction of markets could be dictated by U.S. inflation — the other part of the Fed’s mandate — with July CPI due on Wednesday,” said Steen Jakobsen, chief investment officer at Saxo Bank, in a note to clients.
But fresh worries were emerging on Monday, with Goldman Sachs downgrading its China growth forecasts due to climbing COVID-19 cases in several regions. The bank cut its third-quarter growth outlook to 2.3% from 5.8%, though lifted its fourth-quarter outlook to 8.5% from 5.8% previously. That leaves its full-year 2021 projection at 8.3% from 8.6% previously.
Beijing has reportedly punished 30 officials across the country for lax attitudes and response in containing the virus, according to the state-backed Global Times. Meanwhile, fresh data showed producer prices climbing 9.0% from a year earlier, faster than an 8.8% increase in June, according to the National Bureau of Statistics Monday.
Concerns over China growth didn’t help oil prices, which extended sharp losses from Friday. Crude for September delivery
fell $1.69, or 2.5%, to $66.57 a barrel. Brent oil
fell $1.73, or 2.5%, to $68.95 a barrel. U.S. oil futures booked the sharpest weekly slump in 9 months as the dollar
rallied on the back of strong jobs data. The dollar index was modestly lower on Monday.
Gold was also extending a sharp drop from late last week, with December futures
down $10.80, or 0.6%, to $1,752.70 an ounce, and tumbling as low as $1,672.80 in Asian trading. Silver prices
fell 1.4% to $23.96 an ounce.
Gold saw its sharpest daily fall since mid June on Friday, and biggest weekly drop in two months, after the strong U.S. jobs data sent the dollar and bond yields climbing, which reduces demand for precious metals. The yield on the 10-year government
bond was holding steady at 1.2910%.