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  • S&P 500 Futures step back from record top amid US political plays to impeach Trump.
  • Covid variant spreads, US plans further sanctions on China, eyes favoring Taiwan.
  • A light calendar keeps risk catalysts on the driver’s seat.

S&P 500 Futures drop back below 3,800, currently down 0.65% intraday to 3,796, during early Monday. In doing so, the risk barometer steps back from the record high, flashed on Friday, of 3,824.50, while declining for the first time since last Monday.

Although odds of the US coronavirus (COVID-19) stimulus keeps favoring the market sentiment, recently spreading virus variants from the UK and South Africa challenge the risk-takers off-late. That said, Japan is said to have found four cases of covid strains while the UK and the US infection numbers hover around the record-high levels.

Elsewhere, the US eyes more punitive measures on China as a part of its crackdown on issues relating to Hong Kong and Uyghur Muslims. The latest drive to out Chinese shares from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) seemed to have pushed Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to cut some products from Asia.

It should be noted that the Sino-American tension is less likely to be overcome any time soon even as US President Donald Trump is about to be impeached by policymakers. The reason could be traced to America’s latest push to connect with Taiwan while also favoring Hong Kong.

Even so, the risk-off mood has comparatively less strength than the increasing optimism towards the aid package as Democratic policymakers are near to take over the White House and President-elect Joe Biden has shown readiness to inflate fiscal stimulus.

Looking forward, a lack of major data/events will keep markets to watch over virus headlines, US-China news and American politics for fresh clues.

Also read: AUD/USD fails to cheer upbeat China inflation data, prints three-day downtrend towards 0.7700