Dow futures were pointing to about a 100 point gain at Wednesday's open, one day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average soared more than 500 points, or 2%, on a record retail sales jump, positive trial results of a potential coronavirus treatment and hopes of more economic stimulus. A higher close for the Dow on Wednesday would extend its winning streak to four straight sessions since Thursday's nearly 7% plunge.
However, stocks came off their highs Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told senators that central bankers would adjust corporate bond buying based on market conditions. He also warned that "significant uncertainty remains about the timing and strength of the recovery" and that small businesses are at risk. Powell testifies virtually to Capitol Hill again Wednesday, delivering his semiannual monetary policy report to a House committee at noon ET.
Homebuyer mortgage demand spiked to an 11-year high last week as rates hit another record low. Purchase applications rose 4% last week and were 21% higher than last year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Refis rose 10% last week and were 106% higher than a year ago.
In another look at the real estate market, the government said that U.S. home construction rebounded 4.3% in May. But that was well below expectations for a 22.3% bounce. Some analysts are cautioning that the fledgling recovery could be derailed if coronavirus cases were to spike again, causing potential buyers to put off looking for a new home.
More than 60% of commercial flights in and out of Beijing have been canceled as the Chinese capital looks to contain a new coronavirus cluster. Beijing had said it more or less eradicated local transmission. However, in recent days, there have been 137 cases in the city of 20 million people, leading officials to close schools, suspend reopenings and implement stronger requirements for social distancing. China had relaxed many of its controls after the ruling Communist Party declared victory over the virus in March.
China's strong response to new infections contrasts with what some states in the U.S. are willing to endure to reopen their economy. Texas, among the states experiencing spikes since relaxing controls, reported 2,622 new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, another daily high for the state. Gov. Greg Abbott blamed the increase on people not wearing masks and not social distancing. "There is no reason right now to be alarmed," he said, while urging Texans to stay home as much as possible.
South Carolina's Tim Scott, the only Black Republican senator, and a task force of other GOP senators are set to introduce legislation Wednesday to overhaul police procedures and accountability. The 106-page bill is not as sweeping as a Democratic proposal, scheduled for a House vote next week, but it shows how swiftly the national debate has been transformed since last month's death George Floyd at the hands of police and subsequent protests against racial injustices and inequalities.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow all the developments on Wall Street in real-time with CNBC's live markets blog. Get the latest on the pandemic with our coronavirus blog.