Stock market news live updates: Wall Street poised for mixed open as fears over rising COVID infections take hold

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Stocks were mixed on Friday, as growing concerns over nationwide COVID-19 lockdowns in Europe raised fears about new restrictions beyond the continent.

Contracts on the Dow and the S&P 500 fell, reversing course from earlier being in positive territory. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq composite added 0.2% as tech shares gained. 

With earnings season ongoing, Foot locker (FL) shares are down during market open Friday, even after the athletic shoe and apparel retailer said it expects global supply-chain issues to persist through this quarter. Intuit shares are rose after the financial-software company’s top and bottom lines both beat analysts’ expectations, but the company also raised its full-year revenue guidance for 2021 to $1 billion. 

U.S. stock futures were mixed on Friday. Dow and S&P 500 contracts surrendered early gains after the Austrian government announced a full lockdown starting on Monday, in response to cases of COVID-19 surging in Europe. The lockdown will include both those vaccinated and unvaccinated, it will last for 10 days minimum, but could be extended for 10 days further.

“The news is hitting European markets hard this morning as fears mount that the virus and restrictions will spread across the continent again,” said Jim Reid, chief economist at Deutsche Bank, adding that “the curveball might be the U.S.” given lower rates of vaccination domestically than in Europe.

“So although all the headlines are in Europe at the moment, will the U.S. be more vulnerable than many European countries over the course of the full winter? Recent history suggests the US have a higher bar for economic restrictions related to covid but it also has a lower vaccination rate than their European peers,” he added.

Meanwhile, Nasdaq futures pointed higher, bolstered by a jump in stocks associated with the “stay-at-home” trade that characterized much of 2020. Treasury yields, which have jumped in response to rising inflation fears, retreated early Friday as investors flocked to safe-haven assets. Brent crude (CL=F) sank by over 3%, reflecting jitters that lockdowns will curb energy demand.

There is no economic data on the calendar on Friday, however investors will be keeping a close eye on Washington, where the House is expected to pass President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” bill. The bill lays out the administration’s plans to spend $1.85 trillion on education, healthcare and the climate.

Also in focus for the markets is Biden’s Federal Reserve chair nomination. Biden told reporters on Tuesday to expect the announcement of a nominee for Fed chair in “the next four days.” The White House appears to be weighing two options: reappoint current chair Jerome Powell or Fed governor Lael Brainard.

“The market so far is believing that it will be Powell again, but any sort of a change would mean that they want to hear a reiteration of the monetary policy and forward expectations,” Sonali Pier, Pimco’s Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, told Yahoo Finance Live on Thursday.

“[That means] tapering, being at a pace of about $10 billion in treasuries, $5 billion in agency MBS, then thereafter seeing rate hikes but not a significant shift to be more hawkish,” Pier added.

9:30 a.m. ET: Stocks mixed, tech leads Nasdaq higher

Here’s where markets were trading shortly after market open on Friday:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -6.33 (-0.13%) to 4,698.21

  • Dow (^DJI): -214.78 (-0.60%) to 35,656.17

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +39.95 (+0.28%) to 16038.10

  • Crude (CL=F): -$1.51 (-1.91%) to $77.50 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$4.20 (-0.23%) to $1,857.20 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): unchanged to yield 1.6040%

7:30 a.m. ET Friday: Stock futures poised for mixed start

Here’s where markets were trading Friday morning:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): -11.75 points (+0.25%), to 4,689.75

  • Dow futures (YM=F): -194 points (-0.54%), to 35,619.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): +54.75 points (+0.33%) to 16,536.00

  • Crude (CL=F): -$2.65 (-3.35%) to $76.36 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$1.90 (+0.10%) to $1,863.30 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): -0.5 bps to yield 1.529%

6:28 p.m. ET Thursday: Stock futures open higher

Here’s where markets were trading Thursday evening:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): +0.5 points (+0.11%), to 4,706.50

  • Dow futures (YM=F): and +33 points (+0.09%), to 35,844.00

Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): +22 points (+0.13%) to 16,503.50

A street sign for Wall Street is seen outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, New York, U.S., July 19, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly