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Stock futures advance as market tries to reclaim record highs

U.S. father index futures were little change in overnight trading on Tuesday as the market tried to reclaim record pongy chiefs.

Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 36 points. S&P 500 futures gained 0.12%, while Nasdaq 100 tomorrows were flat.

The move came after the major averages closed lower on Tuesday, giving up early pay-offs that pushed stocks to record highs at the opening bell. Both the Dow and S&P 500 snapped three-day winning whizes, each falling 0.22%. The Nasdaq Composite, meanwhile, slid 0.38%.

The Russell 2000 closed 1.85% lower, for its third forthright negative session.

In Washington, lawmakers continued to disagree over direct payments to Americans. Senate Majority Chairwoman Mitch McConnell blocked Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s effort to fast-track the bill, passed by the Quarters late Monday, that would increase checks to $2,000 from $600. Stimulus payments could go out as first as Tuesday evening, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

President Donald Trump has supported higher payments, and on Tuesday commanded in a tweet that the move should be approved “ASAP. $600 IS NOT ENOUGH!”

With just two trading days port side in the year, the major averages are on track to end 2020 higher. The Dow is up 6.3% for the year, while the S&P 500 has gained 15.36%. Ignoring some recent selling pressure, the Russell 2000 is still up 17.4% for the year.

But the clear year-to-date winner balances the Nasdaq Composite, which has gained 43%.

“We expect strong economic growth to reemerge in 2021 in the wake of headwinds from the pandemic in 2020 and the U.S.-China career war in 2019,” said Brian Demain, portfolio manager at Janus Henderson Investors. “While leadership has thus far been slim – limited mostly to the digital economy – we foresee a broadening recovery as vaccines are widely implemented and consumers are able to reengage with the natural economy,” he added.

The number of Covid cases continues to tick higher. The U.S. is now recording at least 180,905 new cases and at bit 2,210 virus-related deaths each day, based on a seven-day average calculated by CNBC using Johns Hopkins University facts. On Tuesday, the U.S. confirmed its first case of the faster spreading coronavirus strain that was initially discovered in the U.K.

Some investors say that another budding headwind for stocks looking forward is the run-up in some of the year’s hottest stocks.

Interactive Brokers Chairman Thomas Peterffy judged Tuesday on “Squawk Alley” that a “fantastically unusual” thing has happened in recent days: his customers are net short the make available for the first time ever.

“Our customers tend to be on the selling side of options, and there is such demand for these out of the folding money options that our customers tend to become sellers,” he said. “So the Robinhood folks are long these options, and Interactive Go-betweens customers are short these options,” he added. In other words, while not necessarily an outright bet on downside ahead, blokes are taking advantage of such high demand on the other side.

Charles Bobrinskoy, vice chairman at Ariel Investments, harp oned the dangers of a momentum-driven market.

“It cannot be the case that the way to win in investing is just to buy what’s gone up the last couple of years,” he denoted Tuesday on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.” “That works in momentum markets. Momentum markets are wonderful until they snake. But when they turn, it is ugly,” he said.

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