U.S. stock futures pointing to another day of steep losses on renewed coronavirus fears

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Wall Street

Markets set to open sharply lower

Stock futures were pointing to a brutal start for Wall Street on Wednesday, weighed by uncertainty over the Nov. 3 election and worries about surging coronavirus cases that could prompt fresh lockdowns.

By 5:50 a.m. ET, futures tied to the blue-chip Dow shed 464 points, or 1.7% to 26,901. The S&P 500 futures dropped 47.22, or 1.4% to 3,335.88 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures were down 123 points, or 1.06% to 11,465.

Coronavirus cases continue to rise in the U.S., Europe, and other parts of the world. According to the John Hopkins University, daily coronavirus cases in the U.S. have risen by a record average of 69,967 over the past week.

Meanwhile, several European governments have introduced new measures that markets fear could hurt the already fragile recoveries.

Crude futures tumble, hurt by virus concerns and U.S. output

Crude futures also fell early Wednesday as an increase in U.S. crude stockpiles and an alarming rise in new coronavirus cases triggered fears of a supply glut and weaker fuel demand.

Data published by the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed crude inventories rose by 4.58 million barrels for the week ended October 23, against analyst forecast of 1.1 million barrels decline.

By 5:50 a.m. ET, U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $37.96, down $1.61, or 4.07% a barrel. International Brent crude futures were down $1.33, or 3.2% to $40.28 a barrel.

Earnings parade

Today’s pre-session earnings lineup includes results from Boeing (NYSE: BA), General Electric (NYSE: GE), United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS), and Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX).

Pinterest (NYSE: PINS), Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN), Gilead (NASDAQ:GILD), Fastly (NYSE: FSLY), eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY), GrubHub (NYSE: GRUB), Spirit Airlines (NYSE: SAVE), and Visa (NYSE: V) will report after the closing bell.

Big tech CEOs to testify before Congress

Meanwhile, the CEOs of Twitter (NYSE: TWTR), Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), and Google-owner Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG) are set to make a rare appearance before the Senate today over Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

The law underpins internet regulation that exempts social media companies from legal liability for content generated by third parties post on their platforms.

According to the Senate judiciary committee, the hearing will examine “how best to preserve the internet as a forum for open discourse.”

Jack Dorsey, Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai are expected to tell lawmakers that the legislation is crucial to free expression online.

In prepared remarks, Dorsey says “eroding” the legislation would “collapse how we communicate on the Internet,” while Zuckerberg feels lawmakers need to “update” Section 230.

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