U.S. stock futures turn higher as market readies to reopen after Christmas Eve meltdown

U.S. stock futures turn higher as market readies to reopen after Christmas Eve meltdown

CNN reports Treasury Secretary Mnuchin is under pressure

U.S. stock futures pushed higher Wednesday, as Wall Street attempted to bounce back after the worst Christmas Eve trading session in the history of the stock market.

Stocks saw an early close Monday and were closed Tuesday for Christmas Day.

How are benchmarks performing?

After crossing back and forth across the flat line, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YMH9, +0.89% rose 108 points to 21,809, while S&P 500 futures ESH9, +1.00% rose 12.55 points, or 0.5%, to 2,354 and Nasdaq-100 futures NQH9, +1.03% rose 24.25 points to 5,917.

In a shortened Christmas Eve session Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -2.91% slid 653.17 points, or 2.9%, to 21,792.20, marking its lowest close since Sept. 7, 2017, while the S&P 500 index SPX, -2.71% fell 2.7% to 2,351.10, its lowest since April 21, 2017. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -2.21% COMP, -2.21% tumbled 2.2% to 6,192.92, its lowest close since July 10, 2017.

Another negative session Wednesday would mark five straight losing sessions, and last week marked the worst week of trading since the 2008 financial crisis. The Nasdaq officially entered bear-market territory on Friday, and is now off 23.6% from its record close set Aug. 29. The S&P is down 19.8% from its Sept. 20 record close, and the Dow has slid 18.8% from its Oct. 3 record close.

What’s driving the market?

With many traders out for the holidays, volumes are expected to be thinner and moves could be exaggerated. Monday’s dramatic session came after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tweeted that he had spoken with the CEOs of the country’s six biggest banks to assess the health of the banking system, raising concerns that the administration knows something the market doesn’t.

On vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Mnuchin also held a call Monday with the president’s Working Group on financial markets “to discuss coordination efforts to assure normal market operations.”

CNN, citing a source close to the White House, reported that Mnuchin could be in “serious jeopardy” from an increasingly frustrated U.S. President Donald Trump, who has been publicly supportive of his top cabinet member. Mnuchin supported the appointment of Jerome Powell as chairman of the Federal Reserve, whose monetary policy decisions have come under repeated criticism by Trump. However, a White House source told CNN that Mnuchin’s job was not on the line.

“They’re raising rates too fast because they think the economy is so good. But I think they will get it pretty soon. I really do,” said Trump in his Christmas message on Tuesday, of the Fed. Some blamed accelerated losses on Monday on a tweet by Trump, who blamed the Fed for the stock drop.

Meanwhile, parts of the federal government remain shut down as lawmakers in Washington tussle over funding for Trump’s proposed border wall. Trump also said Tuesday that the government will not reopen until “we have a wall, fence, whatever they like to call it.

How are other markets trading?

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index NIK, +0.89% closed up 0.9% on the heels of a 5% slump Tuesday in reaction to Wall Street’s losses. China’s Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.26% fell 0.3%. European stock markets are closed and will reopen Thursday after an extended holiday break.

The ICE Dollar Index DXY, +0.19% rose 0.2% to 96.74, while gold GCG9, +0.26% rose 0.3% to $1,275.90 an ounce. February West Texas Intermediate crude CLG9, +1.65% rallied 1.6% to $43.22 a barrel.

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