US stocks headed for a mixed opening Tuesday as Wall Street took a breather after a record-setting rally fueled by hopes for a coronavirus vaccine.
Futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones industrial average were down 197 points, or roughly 0.7 percent, at 29,668.00 as of 7:49 a.m., indicating the blue-chip index will lose some ground after closing at an all-time high Monday on news that Moderna’s COVID-19 shot is nearly 95 percent effective.
S&P 500 futures slid about 0.5 percent after the benchmark index notched its second closing record in as many trading sessions. But futures for the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 climbed roughly 0.3 percent thanks in part to electric-car maker Tesla, whose share price surged 13 percent in premarket trading on news that it would be added to the S&P.
“Overall, the atmosphere is still positive but as the euphoria about possible routes out of the crisis begins to fade the focus will shift, to a degree at least, to the manufacture and distribution of the vaccines,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG.
Moderna’s breakthrough announcement came just a week after Pfizer revealed that its vaccine candidate was more than 90 percent effective, adding to optimism that an inoculation could soon help the global economy recover from the deadly pandemic. The two drugmakers expect to have millions of vaccine doses ready by the end of the year.
But the timeline for distributing the shots remains uncertain amid a massive surge in coronavirus infections that’s led to renewed restrictions in parts of the US and Europe.
“The uncertainty about how long those lockdowns could last is prompting some investors to remain on the sidelines,” said Milan Cutkovic, market analyst at Axi. “Nevertheless, chances of a strong year-end rally are solid.”
Wall Street was poised to follow European markets lower Tuesday. London’s FTSE 100 was down about 1.2 percent as of 7:43 a.m., while Germany’s DAX and Paris’s CAC 40 were each recently off about 0.3 percent.