Stock Futures Slip after Strong Wall Street Rally

(Reuters) – U.S. stock futures slipped on Friday as investors locked in some gains after a more than 7% rally on Wall Street this week, while Democrat Joe Biden took a narrow lead over President Donald Trump in the battleground state of Georgia for the first time.

Winning Georgia’s 16 electoral votes would put the former vice president on the cusp of the 270 he needs to secure the presidency, even as Trump falsely claimed the election was being “stolen” from him.

“The large bounce in equities this week creates an opportunity for investors to reassess and rebalance their portfolios in preparation for a President Biden and divided Congress,” said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management.

The benchmark S&P 500 is on course for its best week since April, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq has jumped 6.5% since the Nov. 3 election as the prospect of a policy gridlock in Washington eased worries about tighter regulations on companies.

Matt Sherwood, head of investment strategy at Perpetual in Sydney, said markets had already moved to price in a Biden presidency and a divided Congress.

“We can get all of the good things about a Biden presidency, such as stable leadership and foreign policy, without any of the bad things from the far Left of his party, such as taxation,” he said.

At 5:22 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 242 points, or 0.86%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 37.25 points, or 1.06%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 175.25 points, or 1.45%.

Technology mega-caps including Apple Inc, Inc, Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc fell about a percent in early premarket trading after logging strong gains this week.

While investors still widely expect a fiscal stimulus package after the election, the size of a deal reached in a divided Congress is likely to be much smaller than it would be under a Biden administration. That could pressure the Federal Reserve to ease monetary policy further, analysts said.

“Should the outcome be a Biden presidency and a Republican Senate, then we would expect the Fed would have to do more,” said Simona Gambarini, markets economist at Capital Economics in London.

The central bank on Thursday kept its loose monetary policy intact and again pledged to do whatever it can to sustain an economy crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department’s closely watched employment report later in the day will underscore the challenges facing the next president, with economists expecting job growth to have slowed again in October in the absence of new fiscal stimulus and as COVID-19 infections surge.

Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani and Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Tom Westbrook in Singapore; Editing by Bernard Orr and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

Source: Reuters

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