Stock futures rise slightly as lawmakers reach last-minute stimulus deal

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks during a news conference with other Senate Republicans at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on December 15, 2020.

Tom Brenner | AFP | Getty Images

Stock futures rose slightly in overnight trading on Sunday as Congress managed to seal a coronavirus stimulus deal hours before a shutdown deadline.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 60 points. S&P 500 futures were little changed and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 0.2%. At Monday’s open, Tesla will enter the S&P 500 with a 1.69% weighting in the index, the fifth largest. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said lawmakers have reached an agreement on a $900 billion relief package, which would provide direct payments and jobless aid to struggling Americans. The announcement came after negotiators resolved a key sticking point by rolling back the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending powers.

To avoid a government shutdown that would start at 12:01 a.m. ET Monday, Congress is seeking to approve a one-day spending measure on Sunday. Lawmakers will then vote on the relief and funding bill on Monday.

The major averages have recently risen to record highs amid optimism toward fresh coronavirus stimulus as well as the vaccine rollout. Moderna is shipping its first batch of vaccine doses after receiving approval for emergence use from the FDA. Meanwhile, the vaccines by Pfizer and BioNTech are being distributed to front-line health care workers around the country. 

“In the eyes of stocks, the inexorable vaccination process, which is only just getting started, is more powerful than the current trends in cases and lockdowns, and this will prevent markets from delving too deeply down a well of pandemic despair,” Adam Crisafulli, founder of Vital Knowledge, said in a note on Sunday. 

“Recall, the three pillars of the rally all remain very much in place: vaccines, strong corporate earnings, and massive stimulus,” he added.

With only two trading weeks left in 2020, the S&P 500 is up 14.8% for the year, while the 30-stock Dow has risen 5.8%. The Nasdaq Composite has rallied 42.2% this year as investors favored high-growth technology companies.

On Friday, the Fed announced it will allow the nation’s big banks to resume share buybacks in the first quarter of 2021 subject to certain rules.

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