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Before The Bell - The stock market spent much of yesterday trending higher, as equity prices gained from traders betting on an improvement in the economy over the coming months. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 154 points during the day, while the S&P 500 was up 20 points. This movement was led by a rise in technology stocks, while financial stocks were among the weakest performers. Still, this move up occurred with lower-than-average volumes. Too, market breadth was mixed, favoring neither advancers nor decliners by a significant degree, suggesting more mixed fundamentals. The futures market continued to trend higher, and the Dow was up 150 points in early evening action, while the S&P 500 futures were up about 10 points in short order. 

During the night, some volatility occurred as the trade deal between the United States and China was called into question. By the early morning, futures prices were even higher as hopes for a coronavirus vaccine increased, and the Dow was up almost 250 points, setting up the market for a healthy start once trading begins.

Meantime, oil prices were higher yesterday, as traders bet that supply and demand were coming more in line as more parts of the U.S. economy start to reopen, while reductions in output have occurred. Meantime, U.S. Treasury bond yields were slightly higher, as traders sold their bond positions on balance. The VIX Volatility Index rose yesterday as demand for options fell a bit.

Looking ahead to economic reports that will likely affect the markets today, there will be a key report on new home sales at 10 AM EDT. That is likely to show how well this part of the economy is recovering since reopening of the country. Additionally, St. Louis Fed Chairman Bullard will be giving a speech later in the day. Too, the markets may move in anticipation of the Federal Reserve’s stress tests on the banks, slated for release later in the week. On the other hand, the earnings’ slate is rather quiet, suggesting that any change in the coronavirus picture or economic outlook will drive trading in the coming days.   - John E. Seibert III

At the time of this article’s writing, the author did not have positions in any of the companies mentioned.