Before The Bell - Tuesday was a mostly bullish day on Wall Street yesterday, with the indices rallying after Monday’s selloff. Yesterday’s move higher was fueled by sentiment that the potential infrastructure bill before the U.S. Congress has a better chance of passing. That positive sentiment was fueled by reports that West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a key vote on Capitol Hill, may consider another spending bill of between $1.9 trillion and $2.2 trillion. Given that he is one of the major holdouts in the Senate, traders took this positively and increased stimulus expectations. Overall, the S&P closed higher by 45 points, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 312 points, and the NASDAQ rose 178 points. 

Market breadth was fairly positive, as advancers outpaced decliners by a 1.4-to-1.0 ratio. Most sectors were higher yesterday, but financials were especially strong performers on the day. Technology and communications issues also performed well. On the other hand, REITs were among the worst performers of the day, hurt by rising interest rates.

However, the equity futures were notably in the red overnight ahead of the Automatic Data Processing (ADP) Employment for September, which was released at 8:15 A.M. EDT. This report showed stronger-than-expected private-sector hiring in September, led by large businesses. The labor picture was likely helped by reopening from shutdowns related to the coronavirus. The futures, though still suggesting a weak start to the trading day, are now off their earlier lows on the positive employment report.

In commodity news, oil prices rose at a strong pace yesterday, as traders bought more crude contracts, thinking demand would outpace supply this season. Meantime, U.S. Treasury bond yields were much higher, with long-term rates rising at a faster pace than short-term notes. This is usually a positive for banks and financial companies’ earnings. The VIX Volatility Index was lower as demand for options protection fell a bit.

Looking ahead, several key pieces of economic data will be released in the coming days. These include initial and continuing jobless claims tomorrow and nonfarm payrolls for September on Friday. 

The next few days will be quiet on the earnings front, with only a few companies slated to report quarterly results. However, the earnings will pick up a lot in the weeks ahead, as third-quarter earnings season commences on October 13th with the latest results from banking giant JPMorgan Chase (JPM). Overall, we think traders will keep an eye on the Senate to see if and when they pass legislation on the U.S. debt ceiling and any developments on the infrastructure bill before Congress.  - John E. Seibert III

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