Stocks – U.S. Futures Higher; Infrastructure Bill Likely

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Investing.com – U.S. stocks are set to open higher Friday, continuing the recent positive tone on hopes of additional fiscal stimulus supporting a prompt economic recovery, overshadowing concerns of a resurgence in coronavirus infections.

At 7 AM ET (1100 GMT), S&P 500 Futures traded 26 points, or 0.8%, higher, Nasdaq Futures up 82 points, or 0.8%. The Dow Futures contract rose 235 points, or 0.9%. 

These indices are on course for their fourth positive week in the last five. Activity could be volatile with the expiry of the futures and options of both individual stocks and the indices, an effect known as ‘quadruple witching’.

The Democratic Party unveiled a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan in the House of Representatives Thursday, calling for a huge increase in funding to repair roads and bridges while expanding broadband access in rural areas.

This is larger than the $1 trillion package the Trump administration is reported to be readying, but suggests that the gap between the two sides is not .- so to speak – unbridgeable.

Thursday’s employment data suggested that the economy could need more help, as implied by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in his testimony to the Senate earlier this week, as a further 1.5 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week.

The market’s gains in recent days have occurred against the backdrop of a rise in infections in a number of populous states, including Arizona, Florida, and Texas. California, which is also experiencing a rise in new cases, ordered its citizens on Thursday to wear face masks in public to limit the spread of the disease.

A number of Federal Reserve officials are slated to speak in public on Friday, including Powell, while the first-quarter current account data is scheduled at 8:30 AM ET (12:30 GMT).

In corporate news, Cinemark (NYSE:CNK) stock gained 3,8% after the movie theater operator said it will reopen most of its theaters by the end of July, without requiring visitors to wear masks.

Marathon Petroleum (NYSE:MPC) stock rose 5.8% after the Wall Street Journal reported it was in discussions with potential buyers of its Speedway gas-station unit.

Oil prices pushed higher Friday, climbing above $40 a barrel for the first time in 11 days, helped by Iraq and Kazakhstan, two of the countries who have struggled to meet their target cuts, agreeing to compensate for their overproduction in May.

Eyes will turn to the release of the Baker Hughes oil rig count, at 1:00 PM ET (16:00 GMT), which acts as a barometer for the U.S. oil drilling industry. 

At 7:05 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 2.5% higher at $39.80 a barrel. The international benchmark Brent contract rose 1.9% to $42.30.

Elsewhere, gold futures rose 0.5% to $1,739.05/oz, while EUR/USD traded at 1.1201, largely unchanged.

 

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