US pre-open: Futures point to flat open as new Covid-19 infections continue to rise
Wall Street futures were mostly flat ahead of the bell on Friday as a continued rise in new Covid-19 cases across the country continued to weigh on sentiment.
As of 1230 GMT, Dow Jones were 0.06%, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 futures had the indices opening 0.04% and 0.18% firmer, respectively.
The Dow Jones closed 44.81 points higher on Thursday as tech stocks staged a late rally.
In focus on Friday, the seven-day average of daily new Covid-19 infections hit 161,165 in the US, according to John Hopkins University, 26% higher week-on-week, leading many states to roll back reopening plans and implement fresh restrictions.
California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a "limited Stay at Home Order" for the majority of the State, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised Americans against travelling for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Investors were also keyed in on news around Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who was said to be looking to halt multiple Fed facilities that bought corporate bonds and a Main Street Lending Program aimed at small- and medium-sized businesses.
Mnuchin's move has caught the ire of the central bank, which stated that the programs continued to serve an integral role in supporting a vulnerable US economy.
Also in focus, senator Chuck Schumer also said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had agreed to restart negotiations on a new Covid-19 relief bill.
CMC Markets analyst David Madden said: "Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary, will allow the Federal Reserve’s emergency funding schemes to expire at the next of the year. The move could be seen as a sign that the US economy is strong enough that it doesn’t need the special lending mechanisms anymore. On the other hand, the central bank's ability to quickly inject funds into the system will be curtailed.
"Mitch McConnell of the Republicans and Chuck Schumer of the Democrats will recommence talks about a Covid-19 rescue package. The fact the Fed will lose its emergency funding schemes at the end of next month should provide some political pressure for both sides to make a compromise and broker a deal, to avoid a potentially sharp fall in economic activity."
In the corporate space, Pfizer and BioNTech will apply for an emergency use authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration for their Covid-19 vaccine.
If Pfizer's application is approved by the FDA, the vaccine will likely be limited and rolled out in several phases, with healtcare workers, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions likely to be first in line for vaccinations.
On to earnings, footwear retailer Foot Locker's third-quarter profit of $265.0m beat expectations on the Street, while fashion retailer Buckle posted a 12% jump in third-quarter revenues.
No major data points were scheduled for release on Friday.