Stock market news live updates: Stock futures mixed as tech shares advance

Stock futures were mixed Monday morning ahead of a busy week that will include a slew of corporate earnings results, economic data, Federal Open Market Committee meeting and debate over the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal.

Contracts on the Dow lagged and dipped slightly in early trading. Shares of Merck (MRK), a Dow component, sank after the company said it would discontinue its COVID-19 vaccine development program following disappointing data from their early trials. S&P 500 futures were little changed.

Tech stocks led advances in the pre-market session, and contracts on the Nasdaq outperformed to rise about 1%. A number of Big Tech stocks including Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT) and Facebook (FB) are set to report quarterly results later this week after a strong start to earnings season over the past two weeks.

With many of these tech stocks having sharply outperformed the market last year, investors will be looking to see whether these companies expect their growth to hold up even as a vaccine enables other industries to bounce back.

“The big question and debate among investors is around which tech secular themes will continue to play out in the field over the coming year,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives wrote in a note Saturday.

Still, he added he expects “a robust tech earnings season to kick into full gear this week with strong ‘beat and raise’ results adding to Street optimism for tech stocks in 2021,” Ives added. “In our opinion, despite the historic run we have seen in tech stocks over the past year, there is significant room to run higher as the transformational growth stories in cloud, cyber security, and 5G are just starting to play out in the field.”

Elsewhere, focus this week will also turn to Washington, where President Joe Biden is expected to make a more concerted push for Congress to prioritize debate over his $1.9 trillion relief proposal. Passing the massive proposal after more than $3 trillion in stimulus was injected into the economy last year will likely prove challenging, however. A bipartisan group of lawmakers already pushed back against the size of Biden’s proposal during a call with White House adviser Brian Deese this weekend, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

Biden’s plan, which calls for another round of stimulus checks to most Americans and aid to state and local governments, had already elicited some concern last week. Some lawmakers raised their hesitations during Janet Yellen’s confirmation hearing to become Treasury Secretary on Tuesday, noting that they believed the package as written would not provide aid targeted enough to support only the individuals and economic areas most in need during the pandemic. The full Senate is set to vote on Yellen’s nomination on Monday, after the Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved her nomination on Friday.

7:22 a.m. ET Monday: Stock futures mixed, Merck weighs on Dow

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 7:22 a.m. ET Monday:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,841.25, up 7 points or 0.18%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 30,843.00, down 66 points or 0.21%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 13,485.00, up 123.5 points or 0.92%

  • Crude (CL=F): +$0.05 (+0.1%) to $52.32 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$5.70 (+0.31%) to $1,861.90 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): -1.4 bps to yield 1.077%

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