S&P 500 set to open lower, still set for best November ever

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 was set to open lower on Monday as investors paused to take stock of what was set to be the benchmark index’s best November ever.

FILE PHOTO: The front facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen in New York, U.S., November 24, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Data giant S&P Global Inc dipped 0.2% in premarket trading after it announced a $44 billion deal to buy IHS Markit Ltd. IHS shares rose about 8%.

Wall Street’s main indexes were set to finish the month up more than 10% as investors bet that progress in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine would fuel a swift economic rebound next year.

Moderna unveiled plans to apply for U.S. and European emergency authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine after full results from a late-stage study showed it was 94.1% effective, sending its shares up 12%.

“A little bit of cautiousness and a little bit of trepidation…. the focus is going to continue to be on vaccine and its distribution, economic news and to see if there is a continuation of interest in early cyclicals,” said Robert Pavlik, senior portfolio manager at Dakota Wealth in New York.

A rotation into sectors deemed to provide better returns coming out of a recession such as energy, industrials and financials have powered the Dow to all-time highs this month and put it on track for its biggest monthly gain since 1987.

The S&P value index has rallied about 14% this month after underperforming the benchmark index all year.

Prospects of a smooth handover of power to President-elect Joe Biden after weeks of legal challenges mounted by incumbent President Donald Trump have also aided the stock-market rally.

Biden is expected to unveil his picks for several top economic positions as early as Monday when he will also finally receive his first classified intelligence briefing, an essential step towards taking control of national security.

(Graphic: S&P 500 set for its best November ever )

At 08:20 a.m. ET, Dow E-minis were down 0.49%, S&P 500 E-minis were down 0.24%. Nasdaq 100 E-minis were up 0.16%.

Macy’s Inc and Kohl’s Corp slipped about 1% as masked shoppers turned up in smaller numbers at major U.S. retailers on Black Friday as early online deals and concerns about a spike in COVID-19 cases dulled enthusiasm for mall trips.

After an explosion in infections and business restrictions this month that undermined the U.S. labor market recovery, focus will be on the monthly employment report and the Fed’s Beige Book, as well as an address by Fed Chair Jerome Powell before the Senate Banking Committee.

Energy companies Chevron Corp, Occidental Petroleum and ConocoPhillips were down between 1.2% and 2.8%, tracking a fall in crude prices.

U.S.-listed shares of CNOOC tumbled about 12% on reports the Trump administration is set to add China’s national offshore oil and gas producer to a blacklist of alleged Chinese military companies.

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