• Sat. Oct 29th, 2022

Tech-heavy Nasdaq futures fall as investors bet a Democrat-controlled Senate would lead to tighter regulation, higher taxes

Jan 6, 2021

Futures tied to the S&P 500 were down 0.6%, while futures connected with the technology-heavy Nasdaq-100 index fell 2.1% on expectations that a Democrat-controlled Congress would lead to higher taxes and tighter regulations on tech giants.Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were more muted, down 0.2%, while futures on the Russell 2000, which track smaller stocks, were up 0.8%. Both indexes are filled with companies beaten down by the coronavirus pandemic that stand to benefit from higher fiscal spending.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury rose above 1% for the first time since March. The yield, which rises as the price falls, was up at 1.005% from 0.955% on Tuesday.
In the elections in Georgia, two races that will determine which party has control of the Senate, the Democrats flipped one Republican seat and maintained a narrow lead in the second race, which was too close to call.
Investors are closely following the results, betting that a blue sweep, Democratic control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, would make it easier for President-elect Joe Bidens administration to pass new legislation.
Such an outcome could scramble investors expectations for government policy. It would increase Mr. Bidens chances of pushing through higher corporate and capital-gains taxes. He has promised greater scrutiny of tech giants that have powered the stock-market rally in recent years and an expansion of health-care benefits.
A Democratic-controlled Washington would also boost the possibility of more fiscal stimulus, said
Seema Shah,
chief strategist at Principal Global Investors. That will help lift government bond yields, which track expectations for growth and inflation. More government spending supports stocks hit hardest by the pandemic, such as airlines and car companies.
But with Democratic control of the Senate likely to be razor thin, the legislative agenda would be tempered, she said.
Once the clouds have cleared, the market will realize that, yes, this is a blue sweep but it is a very, very marginal one, she said. It is certainly not the status quo we have been used to but I also wouldnt expect that much of a change.
European stocks were little changed, with the Stoxx Europe 600 up 0.2%. An index of European bank stocks was up 3% as higher bond yields tend to benefit the profit margins of banks. Treasury yields dragged European government bond yields higher, with the German benchmark 10-year bund yielding minus 0.56%, from minus 0.58% Tuesday.
The Federal Reserve will release minutes of its December policy meeting at 2 p.m. ET. The central bank used the meeting to say purchases of government debt and mortgage securities would continue until substantial progress toward broader employment and inflation targets had been met.
Investors will be parsing data from ADP for clues on the health of the labor market ahead of weekly jobless claims data Thursday and the employment report due on Friday. The figures, due at 8:15 a.m. ET, are expected to show the nonfarm private sector added 60,000 jobs in December, which would be a sharp slowdown from the previous month and suggest a recovery in the labor market was cooling.
Data on activity in the service sector and on factory orders are also due at 9:45 a.m. ET and 10 a.m. ET, respectively.
In commodity markets, Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil, rose 0.8% to $54.03 barrel. Gold prices fell 0.3% to $1,948.10 a troy ounce.
In Asia, stock markets were mostly lower. Japans Nikkei 225 fell 0.4% while South Koreas Kospi fell 0.8%. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng was flat while Chinas Shanghai Composite rose 0.6%.
Write to Will Horner at William.Horner@wsj.com
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