Stock futures opened flat Tuesday evening after a recovery rally during the regular trading day, with the major equity indexes recouping some losses after three consecutive sessions of declines.
Contracts on the S&P 500 ticked up. Futures on the Nasdaq were little changed, after the tech-heavy index outperformed to jump 2.4% during Tuesday’s session.
With trading volume relatively light during the holiday-shortened week, investors have continued to assess a multitude of developments on the Omicron variant and its potential impact on economic activity. These updates have come alongside expectations for tighter monetary policy next year from the Federal Reserve.
Omicron has overtaken other coronavirus variants to become the dominant strain in the U.S., and now accounts for about three-quarters of new infections. Against this backdrop, President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced a series of new measures to address the virus, including opening additional federal COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites and sending 500 million at-home rapid tests to Americans for free beginning next month.
“I think this is a perfect time to remind everybody that the market is a leading indicator. So the market is going to go down, the market is going to bottom before the bad news peaks,” Liz Young, SoFi head of investment strategy, told Yahoo Finance Live on Tuesday. “We likely haven’t heard all of the bad news yet. We certainly haven’t hit a peak in the Omicron cases.”
“But what we’re seeing in the action today is that, we’ve had three days of a sell-off. And some of that I think was overdone, especially in a lot of these areas that are positioned to do well in a reopening environment,” she added. “You have to have some money in the market in areas that should do well in that particular way. Airlines are one of those, cyclicals are more of those. When we look at the pattern in the market today, I think this makes sense for what’s ahead for the next 6 to 12 months.”
Other strategists agreed that investors should brace for more choppiness heading into the end of the year.
“I think you naturally are getting a little bit of this bounce after we’ve had a couple choppy sessions. But also the market is trying to price and digest the new information we’re getting here,” Anna Han, Wells Fargo securities equity strategist, told Yahoo Finance Live on Tuesday. “We had some news on Build Back Better getting delayed, we have more information on Omicron. These are the things you’re seeing combine with low liquidity as we get into year-end, so we’re not surprised to see the volatility.”
During a question and answer session during his remarks Tuesday, Biden said he and Senator Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) were “going to get something done” on the White House’s about $1.8 trillion Build Back Better social policy bill. Manchin had told Fox News earlier this week he could not back the legislation in part given persistent inflation concerns, suggesting the bill would be scuttled in absence of support from the moderate Democratic lawmaker.
6:10 p.m. ET Tuesday: Stock futures open little changed
Here’s where markets were trading as the overnight session kicked off Tuesday evening:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): +1 point (+0.02%), to 4,641.75
Dow futures (YM=F): +19.00 points (+0.05%), to 35,400.00
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): -1.75 points (-0.01%) to 15,978.25
Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter