Wall Street was set to jump at the open on Monday as doctors said President Donald Trump could be discharged from the hospital where he is being treated for COVID-19, while hopes of a new fiscal stimulus bill also lifted sentiment.
Sequestered at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington since Friday, Trump has released a series of videos in an effort to reassure the public that he is recovering, although his condition remains unclear and outside experts warn that his case may be severe.
Shares of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc jumped 5.9% after Trump’s physician said he had been treated with an intravenous dose of Regeneron’s dual antibody treatment.
“One of his treatments was an experimental drug from Regeneron (and) that’s showing that this could be a major component to treatments moving forward for people,” said Thomas Hayes, chairman at Great Hill Capital LLC in New York.
Wall Street’s main indexes sold off sharply on Friday after Trump’s announcement that he had contracted the disease added to political uncertainty just a month away from voting in the presidential election.
Feeding the improved tone on Monday were comments from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said on Sunday that progress was being made in talks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on a new bipartisan package of coronavirus relief measures.
“This is not yet priced into markets (and) if new convincing fiscal measures are announced this week, expect to see a further rally in risk assets,” said Hussein Sayed, market strategist at FXTM.
At 8:36 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 207 points, or 0.75%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 21.25 points, or 0.64%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 81.25 points, or 0.72%.
Doubts about the scale of further fiscal aid and a slowing economic recovery have weighed on the S&P 500 recently, with the benchmark index in September logging its worst month since the coronavirus-driven crash earlier this year.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll on Sunday showed Trump’s rival, Joe Biden, opening his widest lead in a month in the presidential race, with a majority of Americans thinking Trump could have avoided infection if he had taken the virus more seriously.
Investors say a Biden victory and an accompanying higher capital gains tax could spark a round of profit-taking in sectors such as technology.
Heavyweight tech-related stocks including Apple Inc, Nvidia Corp, Netflix Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Microsoft Corp were up about a percent in premarket trading after weighing heavily on the Nasdaq on Friday.
Focus later in the day will be on a reading of the services sector, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy, after data last week showed activity in the manufacturing sector slowed unexpectedly in September.
AT&T Inc dipped 0.5% after KeyBanc downgraded the wireless carrier to “underweight” on declining wireless business.
MyoKardia Inc surged 58.2% after Bristol-Myers Squibb Co said it would buy the company for about $13 billion. Shares of Bristol-Myers slipped 0.7%.