The S&P 500 (Index: SPX) closed the trading week ending Friday, 9 October 2020 at 3,477.13. That falls within three percent of its 3 September 2020 all-time record high close of 3,580.84.

The index rose, fell, and rose again with the prospects for another round of fiscal coronavirus stimulus coming from the U.S. government during the week. That action puts the level of the S&P 500 in the upper half of the latest redzone forecast range of the alternative futures chart – the latest update to which shows the projections of the dividend futures-based model through the end of 2020:

What the alternative futures chart doesn’t yet show is what could result for markets following the outcome of the U.S. elections. Here, if candidate Joe Biden wins, we would anticipate a partial repeat of 2012’s Great Dividend Raid.

That event was triggered in November 2012 after President Obama won re-election, which all but ensured an increase in federal income tax rates in 2013. Influential investors pulled ahead as much dividends as they could before the end of the year, which caused stock prices to rise sharply.

That would be the portion of the Great Dividend Raid we would reasonably expect to repeat during the fourth quarter of 2020 in the “Biden wins” scenario, because he has pledged to increase both personal and corporate income tax rates, and also the tax rates that apply upon both dividends and capital gains.

All these tax hikes would potentially devastate the market in 2021, but that would depend upon the actual tax changes that would be enacted. In 2013, President Obama’s fiscal cliff tax deal raised personal income tax rates, but lower tax rates held for dividends and capital gains, making it advantageous for influential investors to channel investment returns through them rather than

By Medha Singh

Oct 12 (Reuters)The tech-heavy Nasdaq led Wall Street’s main indexes higher on Monday as optimism about an agreement in Washington over more fiscal support lifted sentiment ahead of the start of quarterly corporate earnings.

Apple Inc AAPL.O provided the biggest boost to the three main stock indexes with a 3.7% gain ahead of a special event on Tuesday, which most analysts believe will be used to unveil the new iPhone with 5G capabilities.

The Trump administration on Sunday called on Congress to pass a stripped-down coronavirus relief bill as negotiations on a broader package ran into resistance.

“(President Donald) Trump is falling behind in opinion polls and seems desperate for a deal, so either some agreement will be hammered out soon or the Democrats could win a decisive victory at the ballot box and ultimately deliver an even greater stimulus package,” said Marios Hadjikyriacos, investment analyst at online broker XM in Cyprus.

A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll showed Americans were steadily losing confidence in Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with his net approval on the issue hitting a record low.

Growing expectations of a Democratic victory in next month’s presidential election as well as bets of fresh federal aid have sent Wall Street’s main indexes to one-month highs.

With the Oct. 15 presidential debate officially canceled, Trump plans to travel to key battleground states this week as his doctor declared he was no longer a transmission risk for the novel coronavirus.

Results from big U.S. banks will be in focus this week, with JPMorgan & Co JPM.N and Citigroup C.N set to report on Tuesday. Bank shares were flat to slightly higher in premarket trading.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc GS.N, which reports on Wednesday, is considering whether to scale back financial targets set

Here are five things you must know for Monday, Oct. 12:

1. — Stock Futures Edge Higher Amid Stimulus Uncertainty

Stock futures edged higher Monday amid uncertainty over the prospects for further fiscal stimulus and as investors prepared for quarterly earnings reports from the biggest banks in the United States.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 59 points, S&P 500 futures were up 23 points and Nasdaq futures rose 199 points.

Stocks closed higher Friday after the White House raised its coronavirus aid proposal to $1.8 trillion, up from $1.6 trillion. The offer, however, still remains below the latest proposal of $2.2 trillion from Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats.

Pelosi rejected the latest Trump proposal as “one step forward, two steps back,” but said she was still hopeful progress can be made toward a relief package.

“I remain hopeful that (Friday’s) developments will move us closer to an agreement on a relief package that addresses the health and economic crisis facing America’s families,” Pelosi said in a letter to Saturday to colleagues.

The Dow last week jumped 3.3%, the S&P 500 rose 3.8% – its best week in three months – and the Nasdaq gained 4.6%.

2. — JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup Kick Off Earnings Season

Earnings reports are expected this week from JPMorgan Chase  (JPM) – Get Report, Citigroup  (C) – Get Report, Bank of America  (BAC) – Get Report, Wells Fargo  (WFC) – Get Report, Goldman Sachs  (GS) – Get Report, Morgan Stanley  (MS) – Get Report, Johnson & Johnson  (JNJ) – Get Report, Delta Air Lines  (DAL) – Get Report, United Airlines  (UAL) – Get Report, UnitedHealth 

Today’s Big Picture

Equities in Asia started the week off mostly higher, led by the 2.2% and 2.6% moves higher in Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and China’s Shanghai Composite, respectively. By mid-day trading, European equities were mostly higher as well, and U.S. futures point to a flat market at the open. The U.S. bond market is closed today.

There are four main drivers of equities this week:

  • First is the ongoing fiscal stimulus talks in the U.S., which in our view, look increasingly less likely to result in a deal before the 2020 U.S. presidential election on November 3.
  • The second will be the onslaught of corporate earnings reports this week, particularly for financial firms and large banks. Comments surrounding loan growth, consumer borrowing levels, and the like will be a keen focus as investors revisit growth prospects for the second half of 2020 and consumer spending prospects ahead of the year-end holiday shopping season.
  • The third will be Apple’s (AAPL) “Hi, Speed” event slated for tomorrow, October 13, at which it is widely expected to unveil the 5G iPhone.
  • The fourth is Amazon’s (AMZN) 2020 Prime Day event, which was postponed from its usual time thanks to the pandemic.

As for earnings, Data from FactSet sees the S&P 500 constituents delivering EPS of $33.30 for the September quarter, up dramatically from $28.22 in the June quarter but down considerably from the $42.21 earnings in the September 2019 quarter. With the coronavirus resurgence, we suspect investors will be closely scrutinizing and parsing management comments to determine if the rebound in corporate earnings for the December quarter will materialize as expected. That answer will help shape the next move in equities.

Data Download

Coronavirus

According to a study published last Friday of 1,062 patients in the New England Journal of Medicine,

The Monday Market Minute

  • Global stocks rally as China markets roar, investors extend stimulus bets heading into the U.S. earnings season.
  • Around 31 companies will report this week, including the country’s biggest banks, with analysts expecting third quarter profits to fall 21% from last year.
  • Apple unveils is new line-up of 5G phones on Tuesday, the same day that Amazon will launch its annual ‘Prime Day’ shopping event.
  • President Trump renews call for stimulus deal, but confusion grips talks as both sides play politics 22 days ahead of the November elections.
  • Europe records 100,000 daily coronavirus cases, the highest tally since the pandemic began, in what is likely to be an omen for a second U.S. wave as domestic weather cools.
  • U.S. equity futures suggest a firmer open on Wall Street, following its best five-day stretch since August, ahead of big bank earnings and key consumer sentiment events in the week ahead.

U.S. equity futures edged higher Monday, while global stocks rallied and oil prices fell, as investors braced for a critical week ahead that could define the market’s direction heading into the final months of the year.

With Wall Street still looking for clarity on stimulus heading into the teeth of the third quarter earnings season, as well as a series of events that will gauge the strength of the U.S. consumer, stocks are holding onto solid October gains, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average creeping into positive territory for the year on Friday.

However, Europe’s recent coronavirus surge, which has lead to a record high 100,000 daily cases across the Continent Sunday, serves as a reminder that the U.S. economy is almost certain to face a similar ‘second wave’ as the domestic weather cools in the coming weeks.

Without stimulus from Washington — which appears as deadlocked and