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U.S. Futures Largely Flat; Market on Stimulus Watch

Stock Markets Dec 18, 2020 07:05AM ET
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By Peter Nurse   

Investing.com - U.S. stocks are seen opening largely unchanged Friday, stalling near record highs as investors look to Washington for fresh news about a Covid relief package.

At 7:05 AM ET (1205 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was up 24 points, or 0.1%, S&P 500 Futures traded 5 points, or 0.1%, higher, and Nasdaq 100 Futures climbed 3 points, or 0.03%. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 cash index are on course for their third positive week in four and the Nasdaq Composite its fourth weekly gain in five, with all three indices closing Thursday at record highs.

U.S. lawmakers are running short of time to pass not only a pandemic rescue package but also a comprehensive spending bill to fund the government before federal funding runs out at the end of Friday.

Both major parties have cited progress, but there are still sticking points holding up an agreement over a potential $900 billion economic rescue package, meaning talks look likely to stretch into the weekend.

“It appears risk sentiment can still benefit from stimulus news, although there is a risk of a partial government shutdown over the weekend possibly pouring some cold water on the otherwise upbeat mood,” said analysts at ING, in a research note.

Meanwhile, Thursday’s initial jobless claims figure showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment assistance jumped to a three-month high last week, while the surge in Covid-19 cases is resulting in more business shutdowns across the nation.

A FDA advisory panel voted Thursday to recommend Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use. This could result in the drug being given the approval as soon as today, quickly joining the initial 2.9 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine that began shipping around the country on Sunday.

In the corporate sector, quarterly earnings are expected from Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI), owner of the Olive Garden chain and others, and motorhome manufacturer Winnebago (NYSE:WGO) before the open, and footwear manufacturer Nike (NYSE:NKE) after the close. 

The economic data slate is relatively light Friday, with the third-quarter current account balance data the main release.

Oil prices slipped, retreating from the nine-month highs seen the previous session as traders waited for Congress to approve a new Covid-19 relief package. The Baker Hughes oil rig count is also due later Friday.

U.S. crude futures traded 0.1% lower at $48.33 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent contract fell 0.2% to $51.40. Both benchmarks hit their highest levels since early March on Thursday.

Elsewhere, gold futures rose 0.1% to $1,892.60/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% lower at 1.2260.

 

U.S. Futures Largely Flat; Market on Stimulus Watch
 

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Comments (4)
Chris Mallory
Chris Mallory Dec 24, 2020 1:38AM ET
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Stocks are undervalued. Buy
Roro Zoro
Roro Zoro Dec 18, 2020 8:05AM ET
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Please have war
Dietmar Stahl
Dietmar Stahl Dec 18, 2020 7:44AM ET
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To high Euro will damage Euopean exports. Stimulus will only bring some stability but will not make the economy grow. Brexit British wanted out. No deal with it. Fisheries of course it's unacceptable that EU is fishing in English territory.
Mitchel Pioneer
Mitchel Pioneer Dec 18, 2020 7:38AM ET
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The pre-market pumps are humming, and there's no end in sight to criminal manipulation of the greatest financial fraud in world history.
Rushikesh Rithe Rushikesh Rithe
Rushikesh Rithe Rushikesh Rithe Dec 18, 2020 7:38AM ET
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The synthetic ear of stock market
Rushikesh Rithe Rushikesh Rithe
Rushikesh Rithe Rushikesh Rithe Dec 18, 2020 7:38AM ET
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Era
Larry Deangelis
Larry Deangelis Dec 18, 2020 7:38AM ET
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I used to laughingly say If it came across the ticker "Armageddon " the next move would be to buy stocks. Now that is happening . It only goes up. Such a ponzi scheme. Especially at end of year bonus time. Scary!
 
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