Stock futures slide as Biden's economic agenda stalls

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U.S. stock futures were modestly lower Monday morning as President Biden’s economic agenda stalled and investors awaited the latest news on embattled Chinese real estate developer Evergrande. 

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 102 points, or 0.3%, while S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures declined 0.35% and 0.48%, respectively. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the weekend delayed votes on both a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a $3.5 trillion spending plan amid party infighting. Pelosi, D-Calif., had previously promised moderate Democrats that a vote on the bipartisan plan would occur no later than Sept. 27, but party progressive said they would vote down the measure if the $3.5 trillion package was not passed first. 

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However, the broader spending plan, which the Democrats are hoping to pass via budget reconciliation to avoid a Republican filibuster, was doomed to fail in the Senate after moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona came out against the size of the package.

Democrats are now looking for ways to scale down spending plan with votes on both bills now expected by Oct. 31. 

Meanwhile, shares of Evergrande Group were suspended in Hong Kong ahead of an announcement about a "major transaction." Chinese state media Global Times reported Evergrande will sell about 51% of its property services business to the developer Hopson.  

Closer to home, Merck & Co. continued higher for a second day after the drug maker announced last week that its pill used to treat COVID-19 showed positive results in a key study. Shares of rival vaccine makers Moderna Inc. and Novavax Inc. declined on the news. 

Elsewhere, Tesla Inc. delivered 241,300 electric vehicles in the third quarter, exceeding the 227,000 deliveries that Wall Street analysts were expecting. The total was 72% above the 140,000 deliveries during the same period last year. 

Hedge fund Engine No. 1 declared its support for General Motors’ goal to have all of its vehicles be electric by 2035. The hedge fund gained notoriety earlier this year for seating three independent climate-focused directors on Exxon Mobil’s board. 

Delta Air Lines Inc. reinstated its initial quarterly revenue guidance amid improving ticket sales. The company expects revenue to be 30% to 35% below 2019 levels. 

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil ticked up 11 cents to $75.99 a barrel while gold declined $9.20 to $1,749.20 an ounce.

Overseas markets were mixed. 

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European bourses traded fractionally higher with Germany’s DAX 30 edging up 0.04%, Britain’s FTSE 100 advancing 0.18% and France’s CAC 30 gaining 0.19%.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost 1.13% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index tumbled 2.19%. China’s Shanghai Composite was closed for holiday, and won’t reopen until Friday.   

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