Futures edge higher on hopes of economic recovery

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures ticked higher on Tuesday on hopes that the easing of virus-led business shutdowns would help jump-start a battered global economy, with investors also weighing the risks of reopening too soon.

Adding to the upbeat mood, China announced a new list of 79 U.S. products including ores of rare earth metals, gold ores and silver ores for waivers from retaliatory tariffs.

Trade tensions between the two countries resurfaced recently, but optimism about a recovery in business activity and massive stimulus measures have helped the S&P 500 climb about 34% from the lows of a pandemic-driven selloff in March.

“We’re in a very choppy period where we don’t really collapse or don’t go much higher,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

“Things are going to begin to normalize. But what the market is looking out for is what does normalization mean and what is its impact on corporations and the economy.”

Wuhan reported its first cluster of coronavirus infections since a lockdown on the city, stoking concerns of a wider resurgence.

Later on Tuesday, top U.S. health authorities will testify to a Senate committee looking into plans for lifting the nation’s lockdown.

Wall Street’s fear gauge slipped for the fourth day running, hitting a ten-week low, even as data showed U.S. consumer prices in April dropped by the most since the Great Recession, weighed down by a plunge in demand for gasoline and services including airline travel.

The focus for this week is the retail report for April due on Friday.

At 8:43 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 104 points, or 0.43%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 10.25 points, or 0.35% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 34.25 points, or 0.37%.

Among stocks, BlackRock Inc dropped 3.2% in premarket trade as its top shareholder PNC Financial Services Group Inc planned to sell its entire 22% stake in the world’s largest asset manager.

Simon Property Group Inc jumped 11.3% as the biggest U.S. mall operator said it would have about half of its more than 200 retail properties in the country open within the next week.

Smaller rival Macerich Co climbed 8.3% as it expected to open a vast majority of its properties by mid-June.

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