Stock futures trade mixed as investors await results of Georgia races, fate of Senate

U.S. stock futures traded mixed Wednesday morning as investors await the outcome of the Georgia election that will determine who controls the U.S. Senate.

Democrat Raphael Warnock is projected to defeat Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., in one of the two crucial Senate runoffs in Georgia, according to Fox News’ Decision Desk.

The race between Jon Ossoff and David Perdue is still neck-and-neck.

Dow futures are higher by 0.2%. Nasdaq futures are down 2%.

As for U.S. equities, which continue to hover near record highs, keeping the Senate in control of the GOP is a good scenario, according to Ed Mills, Managing Director Washington Policy.

“The markets really like the idea of a divided government,” Mills told FOX Business.

If the Democrats were to sweep the election, some are more pessimistic on stocks, including Oppenheimer chief investment strategist John Stoltzfus.

Wednesday’s schedule of economic reports could set a direction for the markets.

Investors will get the first of this week’s labor-related reports. The payroll processing firm ADP’s National Employment report for December may report a gain of 88,000 private-sector jobs, up from a disappointing 307,000 jobs added in November (the estimate was 410,000).

Also on the docket is the final Markit services PMI for December. There is no Refinitiv estimate, but the flash reading two weeks ago came in at 55.3 (a reading above 50 signals an expanding services sector).

Finally, the Commerce Department will post factory orders for November. They’re anticipated to edge up 0.7%, after a 1.0% increase in October:

In Europe, London’s FTSE added 2.2%, Germany’s DAX gained 0.8% and France’s CAC was higher by 0.7%.

In Asian markets, Japan’s Nikkei was 0.4% lower, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.2% and China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.6%.

“A Democratic sweep of the two runoff elections in Georgia could cause the U.S. broad equity market to experience a downdraft of anywhere between 6% and 10%,” Stolzfus wrote.

Additionally, investors say a larger stimulus package could be approved ramping up government spending.

On Wednesday morning, the 10-Yr Treasury yield crossed above 1% for the first time since March on the prospect of increased fiscal stimulus and government borrowing if the Democrats win control of the Senate:

President-elect Joe Biden has indicated should his party take Georgia, and the Senate, Americans will in fact receive $2,000 stimulus checks. The higher amount was rejected by the Senate in favor of $600 payouts.

Some, including Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, warn a Democratic win would result in big tax hikes for Americans.

“Dead center, a median-income family of four will see a $2,000 tax increase if the Democrats win those two seats in Georgia and Biden is able to repeal the Trump tax cuts,” he said in December.

As for the corporate tax rate, which Trump chopped to 21% from 35%, it may also get ratcheted higher to 28%.

Stocks rallied Tuesday, in part due to rising oil prices, which topped the $50 per barrel for the first time since February, and as investors continued to adjust positions for the new year and incoming President-elect Joe Biden.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 167 points or 0.55% while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.7% and 0.95% respectively.

In energy markets, U.S. crude gained 31 cents to $50.24. Brent crude, the international standard gained 52 cents at $54.12.