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Dow Futures Eye Triple-Digit Gains as Chinese Manufacturers Crawl Out of Recession

Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:04 PM
Sam Bourgi
Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:04 PM

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and broader U.S. stock market rallied in overnight trading Tuesday, as China trade optimism continued to fuel investors’ appetite for riskier assets.

Dow Futures Extend Rally; S&P 500, Nasdaq Follow

Futures on all three major U.S. indexes traded higher during the Asian session, setting the stage for a positive open in New York Tuesday morning. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by as much as 116 points; they were last up 86 points, or 0.3%, to trade at 26,987.00.

Dow Jones Futures
Dow Jones futures point to sustained rally in U.S. equities on Tuesday. | Chart: Bloomberg

S&P 500 futures advanced 0.3% to 2,988.75. The Nasdaq 100 futures contract added 0.5% to 7,808.25.

U.S. equities returned anywhere from 0.5% to 2% during September, which represents a major departure from the historic trend. The S&P 500 heads into the fourth quarter with year-to-date returns of 19% – its best performance  in over two decades.

Chinese Manufacturers Crawling Out of Recession

china manufacturing
China’s official manufacturing PMI of large-scale producers remained in negative growth for September, but the pace of contraction has slowed. | Image: STR / AFP / China OUT

China’s manufacturing sector contracted for a fifth consecutive month in September, but the pace of the decline was slower than expected, government data revealed Monday.

The National Bureau of Statistics’ manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) improved to 49.8 in September from 49.5 in August on a scale where anything below 50 implies contraction.

A separate PMI gauge of small- and medium-sized manufacturers from Caixin registered a 1.2 percentage point increase to 51.4.

China’s manufacturing sector has suffered a steep fall over the past year, as the U.S.-led trade war muddied an already shaky outlook for the country’s factories. Although trade talks appear to be back on track, a comprehensive agreement is considered a long shot. That’s because China has a long time horizon for the trade war whereas the Trump administration is dealing with four-year election cycles. If Trump doesn’t return to the White House after the 2020 election, there’s no telling just how trade policy could evolve. Major time discrepancies mean Beijing is unlikely to agree to sweeping overhauls to industrial policy.

Nevertheless, China’s economic slowdown has been the center of multiple downward revisions to global economic growth from the likes of the IMF, World Bank and OECD. The nation’s economic cool down long preceded the trade war, but Trump’s election has magnified the trend south for China’s traditional smokestack industries.