Futures inch higher after Delta-variant selloff drags on Wall Street

Stock market futures rose in Monday’s after-hours session, indicating Wall Street would open higher on Tuesday, after rising COVID-19 infections reasserted themselves and ricocheted across markets.

During Monday’s session, major benchmarks suffered their worst declines of 2021, overwhelming quarterly earnings that have almost uniformly reflected a strong rebound. The rising case count driven by the Delta variant — a more communicable form of COVID-19 — pushed the Nasdaq and S&P 500 to their biggest drop in nearly two months, and sent benchmark Treasury yields to their largest decline in over 3 months as investors sought shelter from the uncertainty. The Dow’s point drop was its worst since October 2020.

The darkening mood overshadowed anticipation about retail trading upstart Robinhood, which early Monday filed its prospectus to go public at a valuation of $35 billion. Jitters over the Delta variant even managed to outweigh market expectations for this week’s batch of earnings, which will include industry leaders like Netflix (NFLX) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). According to data from Bank of America, second quarter earnings per share are tracking 3.5% above consensus, led by financials, with raised guidance and better-than-expected topline results also strong.

According to Citi Global Wealth’s David Bailin, rising coronavirus cases driven will impact industrials “not not very much.”

However, “When it comes to leisure and services, a significant amount. And when it comes to global reopening, also a significant amount,” he told Yahoo Finance Live. “That’s what the market’s digesting.”

In Europe, bourses sank as the United Kingdom celebrated its “Freedom Day”, which ironically began with the Prime Minister and the Chancellor having to isolate after being notified they came into contact with someone who was COVID-19 positive. 

The incident refocused attention on the Delta variant, which is driving a surge of new cases across the U.K. and the U.S., and sent the safe-haven 10-year Treasury bond yield (TNX) to its lowest levels since early March. In Los Angeles, indoor masking requirements have made a comeback, with other regions considering similar measures.

Against the backdrop of surging demand and prices, Corporate America continues to surprise investors to the upside with second-quarter earnings results. About 8% of S&P 500 companies have reported results so far, mostly banks. Of those reporting, 85% have topped estimates, according to FactSet data.

After Tuesday’s trading session, investors will absorb Netflix’s Q2 earnings report. The streaming titan has been racking up Hollywood accolades, yet its stock has been treading water amid investor concerns about slowing growth as lockdowns ease. 

6:20 p.m. ET Monday evening: Stock futures rise

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 6:20 p.m. ET:

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 33,908, +69 

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 14,584.75, +44

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 4260, +9.25

Javier David is an editor for Yahoo Finance. Follow Javier on Twitter: @TeflonGeek

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