Stock set for a muted open; Stimulus doubts and virus concerns linger

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US stocks

McConnell says he won’t back a $1.8 trillion stimulus deal

U.S stock markets are poised to open muted on Friday as traders continue to focus on the lack of a progress over a new coronavirus stimulus package ahead of Election Day, and worrying surge in virus cases.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Thursday that he would not put on the Senate floor a coronavirus stimulus package ranging between $1.8 trillion and $2.2 trillion that is being negotiated by the White House and Democrats.

“I don’t think so That’s where the administration’s willing to go,” McConnell said during a campaign appearance. “My members think what we laid out, a half a trillion dollars, highly targeted, is the best way to go. So that’s what I’m gonna put on the floor.”

By 5:45 a.m. ET, the blue-chip Dow futures were indicated 27 points, or 0.1% lower 28,359. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures rose 10.75 points to 11,884.75 while the S&P 500 futures were flat.

Notable quarterly earnings to watch today include JB Hunt Transport (NYSE: JBHT), Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE: BK), Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB), and State Street (NYSE: STT).

September retail sales data on tap

Investors will also get a glimpse of how much Americans spent in September when the Commerce Department publishes September retail sales data at 8:30 a.m. ET. The data is a key gauge for the strength of consumer spending, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.

Expectations are for spending to have risen 0.7% in September from the previous month, on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Spending rose 0.6% in August, missing expectations of a 1% rise.

Other important data to watch today include a preliminary reading of the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index for October at 10 a.m. ET, and U.S. industrial production data at 9:15 a.m. ET, from the Federal Reserve.

Crude futures sink on virus concerns

Crude futures prices tumbled early Friday amid concerns that a spike in coronavirus cases in the U.S. and Europe is hurting fuel demand.

Traders are also concerned that more supply could flood the market, as it remains unclear if the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will postpone an increase in production of nearly 2 million barrels per day, scheduled for the start of next year.

As of 5:45 a.m. ET, U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 48 cents, or 1.17% to $40.48 a barrel. International Brent crude futures were down 58 cents, or 1.34% per barrel to $42.58.

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