Stock futures opened flat Wednesday evening heading into the first trading day of October and the fourth quarter.

The three major indices closed out September lower, with the S&P 500 falling nearly 4% for its first monthly loss since March. Each of the S&P 500, Nasdaq and Dow posted their worst Septembers since 2011.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="But zooming out to include trading from July and August, equities’ third-quarter performance held up much more strongly. The S&amp;P 500 posted its best third-quarter advance since 2010 with a rise of 8.5%, led by the Amazon-heavy (AMZN) consumer discretionary sector with a quarterly gain of nearly 15%.” data-reactid=”18″>But zooming out to include trading from July and August, equities’ third-quarter performance held up much more strongly. The S&P 500 posted its best third-quarter advance since 2010 with a rise of 8.5%, led by the Amazon-heavy (AMZN) consumer discretionary sector with a quarterly gain of nearly 15%.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Investors are bracing for the potential for September’s volatility to carry over into October, with political uncertainty top of mind. Markets’ hopes for a fiscal stimulus package before the general election dimmed on Wednesday, after more talks between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi produced no tangible agreement on new virus relief measures.” data-reactid=”19″>Investors are bracing for the potential for September’s volatility to carry over into October, with political uncertainty top of mind. Markets’ hopes for a fiscal stimulus package before the general election dimmed on Wednesday, after more talks between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi produced no tangible agreement on new virus relief measures.

The economic situation at the hands of the pandemic remains dire. Major airlines have collectively announced plans to cut some 30,000 airline workers after contingencies tied to federal coronavirus relief aid they received earlier this year expire on Oct. 1.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="And a host of companies across industries announced new forthcoming job cuts this week, indicating that the historic workforce reductions taking place earlier this year amid the pandemic had not finished yet. Disney (DIS) said Tuesday it would be cutting 28,000 workers across its resort business, and insurance giant Allstate (ALL) on Wednesday announced an about 8% workforce reduction impacting some 3,800 jobs. Goldman Sachs (GS) is also reportedly looking to cut about 400 jobs, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, and the oil major Shell (RDS-B) announced plans to cut up to 9,000 jobs by 2022.” data-reactid=”21″>And a host of companies across industries announced new forthcoming job cuts this week, indicating that the historic workforce reductions taking place earlier this year amid the pandemic had not finished yet. Disney (DIS) said Tuesday it would be cutting 28,000 workers across its resort business, and insurance giant Allstate (ALL) on Wednesday announced an about 8% workforce reduction impacting some 3,800 jobs. Goldman Sachs (GS) is also reportedly looking to cut about 400 jobs, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, and the oil major Shell (RDS-B) announced plans to cut up to 9,000 jobs by 2022.

The forthcoming labor market reports Thursday and Friday will not capture these planned layoffs. Consensus economists expect to see in Labor Department’s weekly jobless claims report Thursday morning that another 850,000 Americans filed first-time unemployment insurance claims for the week ended Sept. 26. This would be just a marginal improvement from the previous week’s 870,000, but the fifth straight week that new claims totaled fewer than 1 million. And Friday’s monthly jobs report – the last before the election – is expected to show a fifth straight month of net payroll gains, with consensus economists looking for 868,000 jobs to have come back in September.

6:09 p.m. ET Wednesday: Stock futures open flat ahead of first day of fourth quarter

Here were the main moves in equity markets, as of 6:11 p.m. ET Wednesday:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,352.75, up 0.75 points or 0.02%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 27,688.00, up 24 points or 0.09%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 11,405.75, down 1.5 points or 0.01%

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 18: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 18, 2020 in New York City. The Dow fell more than 1,200 points today as COVID-19 fears continue to roil world markets. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 18: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 18, 2020 in New York City. The Dow fell more than 1,200 points today as COVID-19 fears continue to roil world markets. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MARCH 18: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 18, 2020 in New York City. The Dow fell more than 1,200 points today as COVID-19 fears continue to roil world markets. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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