Futures recede as COVID-19 case tally hits another record

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures slipped on Friday as a record increase in coronavirus cases raised fears of another hit to Corporate America with several states delaying the easing of business restrictions.

About 41 of the 50 U.S. states have reported an increase in COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks, while the country registered the largest single-day increase in new infections globally for the second day in a row on Thursday.

The surge has forced Americans to take new precautions, with several states backpedaling on reopening plans but likelihood of a lockdown similar to February and March seems unlikely, according to market experts.

Attention now shifts to the second-quarter earnings season, which will begin with reports from big banks on Tuesday. Overall profits for S&P 500 firms are expected to plunge the most since the financial crisis, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

U.S. stocks closed lower on Thursday on concerns over surging virus cases at home, but the Nasdaq logged its third closing high this week on the back of recent strength in technology stocks.

At 6:11 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were down 118 points, or 0.46%. S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were down 11.5 points, or 0.37% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were down 21.75 points, or 0.2%.

Energy stocks Occidental Petroleum (OXY.N) and Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) dropped 1.7% and 1% respectively in premarket trading, as oil prices retreated on concern about the pace of economic recovery and fuel demand.

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