Stocks – U.S. Futures Higher; More Stimulus on Way

This post was originally published on this site – U.S. stocks are set to push higher Friday, with investors showing cautious optimism over the combination of more Federal stimulus and individual states starting to reopen the economy.

At 07:15 AM ET (1115 GMT), S&P 500 futures traded 25 points, or 0.9%, higher, Nasdaq futures up 62 points, or 0.7%. The Dow futures contract rose 187 points, or 0.8%.

The Dow and S&P 500 cash indices are on course for their best months since October 2011.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign into law later Friday a $484 billion coronavirus relief bill, which was passed by a large, bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives on Thursday. 

This would be the fourth bill passed to address the crisis, bringing the total amount of funds approved to try and tackle the economic damage done by the crowd-distancing measures taken to combat the virus to an unprecedented $3 trillion.

Attention now turns to the partial ending of these measures, with Georgia controversially allowing the reopening of some businesses Friday as long as they follow protocols to protect the public. Restaurants and movie theaters can follow three days later.

The pandemic has infected more than 869,000 people in the U.S., according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University, killing almost 50,000.

On the earnings front, Verizon (NYSE:VZ) leads the earnings parade, with analysts expecting the telecom giant to report earnings of $1.23 per share and revenue of about $32.5 billion.

Shares in Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) dropped 1.8% premarket despite reporting a strong first quarter late Thursday after the chip maker pulled its guidance for the rest of the year.

There are more economic numbers due later Friday that can provide an update on the impact on the U.S. economy from the Covid-19 outbreak, including durable goods orders and the final measure of the University of Michigan consumer confidence for April.

Durable goods orders are expected to have plunged 11.9% last month, which would be the biggest fall since August 2014, while the Michigan consumer sentiment index is expected to have dropped to 68 from the preliminary reading of 71. That would be down from 89.1 in March.

The oil market has edged higher Friday, settling into a range after an unprecedented week of volatility. 

There will be more numbers to help investors gauge the direction of U.S. production later Friday when Baker Hughes issues its weekly oil rig count. Last week the number of rigs in operation sank to 438 from 504.

At 7:15 AM ET, the U.S. crude traded 3% higher at $17.00 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent contract rose 2.7% to $21.97.

Elsewhere, gold futures rose 0.8% to $1,758.75/oz, while EUR/USD traded at $1.0777, largely flat.

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