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Stock futures open little changed, pausing after rally

Stock futures traded near unchanged Tuesday evening after a rally during the regular session sent a number of big tech names and the Nasdaq Composite to record closing highs.

Market participants continued to eye increases in coronavirus cases in some regions in the country, with each of California, Texas and Arizona posting their largest daily case additions so far, as of Tuesday’s counts. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during an appearance before the House Energy and Commerce Committee Tuesday that the “next couple of weeks are going to be critical” in containing the virus in states in the South and West where surges have appeared.

Still, state and local officials have so far largely tabled the idea of shutting down their state economies again, with Texas Gov. Greg Abott saying that a new lockdown would be the last option.

Despite the uncertainty around the virus stocks still closed higher at the end of the regular session Tuesday, helped in part by optimism over a coronavirus vaccine and some improving economic data. And investors have continued to bet on increased stimulus from policymakers to boost the economy in the face of the pandemic, with the Washington Post reporting Tuesday that President Donald Trump supported another round of direct checks to taxpayers.

The Nasdaq Composite outperformed the other major indices, hitting another fresh record closing level. Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft posted closing record highs, as did other tech names including Zoom Video Communications, PayPal, eBay and Adobe. The Information Technology and Communication Services sectors – each of which contain major tech names – remained one of the few S&P 500 sectors in the green for the year to date.

“Tech has had a relatively easier road over the past few months as stay-at-home stocks become the latest investing trend,” Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy for E-Trade Financial Corporate, said in an email Tuesday. “With in-person office environments mostly touch and go, we could be seeing some excitement around new hardware and gadgets to make working from home a bit easier—potentially putting some momentum in this sector.”

6:05 p.m. ET Tuesday: Stock futures little changed to slightly lower

Here were the main moves at the start of the overnight session for U.S. equity futures, as of 6:05 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,116.25, down 2.25 points or 0.07%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 26,001.00, down 19 points, or 0.07%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 10,195.75, down 0.25 points, or 0.00%

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 26: The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) stands in lower Manhattan on the first day that traders are allowed back onto the historic floor of the exchange on May 26, 2020 in New York City. While only a small number of traders will be returning at this time, those that do will have to take temperature checks and wear face masks at all times while on the floor. The Dow rose over 600 points in morning trading as investors see economic activity in America picking up (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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