Stocks – U.S. Futures Seen Higher; Dow Futures Up 230

This post was originally published on this site – U.S. stocks are set to open higher Monday, with investors optimistic over the approach of company earnings and economic data, despite the continuing unabated growth of coronavirus cases.

At 7:05 AM ET (1105 GMT), S&P 500 Futures traded 25 points, or 0.8%, higher, Nasdaq Futures up 99 points, or 0.9%. The Dow Futures contract rose 230 points, or 0.9%. These cash indexes are currently on two-week win streaks. 

U.S. equity markets have posted strong gains since the depths of March, helped by better-than-expected economic data and extraordinary fiscal and monetary aid from the U.S. authorities.

With this in mind, confidence surrounds this upcoming earnings season, despite the S&P 500 index being expected to report second-quarter earnings some 45% below the numbers seen in the same quarter last year.

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) has become a little more optimistic on earnings prospects this year, lifting its baseline forecast for S&P 500 earnings per share in 2020 to $115, up from a prior estimate of $110. 

That said, “given the heightened investor focus on the earnings outlook in 2021 and 2022, we expect management commentary will prove more valuable than backward-looking results,” Goldman strategists wrote in a note Friday.

This optimism persists despite the Covid-19 virus continuing to claim victims – the state of Florida registered over 15,000 new cases on Sunday, more than hard-hit New York state at the peak of its crisis in April.

The U.S. has reported more than 60,000 new cases daily for three days in a row now, bringing the national total to more than 3 million cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), Citigroup (NYSE:C) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) are all set to report on Tuesday, while Pepsico (NASDAQ:PEP) got the ball rolling Monday. Pepsico declined to give a financial outlook for the year, but its reassurance on shareholder payouts helped lift the stock 2.1% in premarket trading.

Wednesday sees Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and Bank of New York (NYSE:BK) report, while Thursday has Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS).

Economic data are thin on the ground Monday, but U.S. consumer inflation figures for June are due on Tuesday while retail sales, a key gauge of consumption, are released on Thursday.

Oil prices have drifted lower Monday, ahead of a meeting of OPEC’s technical staff on Tuesday and Wednesday, who are expected to recommend sticking to the timeline for restoring supply to the world market as demand recovers. 

The group, known as OPEC+ and primarily made up of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia, is due to restore 2 million of the 9.7 million barrels withheld from the end of July.

“If the group decides to ease cuts from August 1, this should not lead to a change in views on the market, with most assuming that OPEC+ would start easing cuts by this stage already. However continuing deeper cuts would be more of a surprise,” said analysts  at ING, in a research note.

At 7:10 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 1.7% lower at $39.88 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent contract fell 1.6% to $42.56.

Elsewhere, gold futures rose 0.7% to $1,813.95/oz, set for its fifth straight weekly gain. EUR/USD traded at 1.1337, up 0.4%.

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