Dow Futures Up 77 Pts; Optimism as Biden's Presidency Begins

This post was originally published on this site – U.S. stocks are seen edging higher Thursday, continuing to trade in record territory in the wake of President-elect Joe Biden inauguration.

At 7:05 AM ET (1205 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was up 77 points, or 0.3%, S&P 500 Futures traded 10 points, or 0.3%, higher, and Nasdaq 100 Futures climbed 60 points, or 0.5%. 

The three main cash indices all closed at record levels on Wednesday, with the  Dow Jones Industrial Average closing 0.8% higher, the S&P 500 up 1.4% and the Nasdaq Composite gaining 2%. 

Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on Wednesday, and immediately set about undoing some of the trademark policies of the Donald Trump-era. 

He signed an executive order rejoining the U.S. into the Paris climate accord, moved to rejoin the World Health Organization, ended the travel ban against some predominantly Muslim and African countries and stopped construction of a border wall.

However, it’s his $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal which has buoyed investors of late, and they continue to bet that his administration will be able to get the bulk of this through Congress even as hopes for bipartisan support appeared to dim.

With U.S. deaths due the Covid-19 virus now over 400,000 and economic activity curtailed by the associated mobility restrictions, Biden has put the pandemic at the top of his to-do list. 

He is expected to sign a number of executive orders, including ordering the use of disaster funds to help open schools once more and mandating the wearing of protective masks on planes and buses.

The weekly jobless claims data are due at 8:30 AM ET (1330 GMT), and are likely to vividly illustrate the economic damage caused by the pandemic. Initial claims are expected to be 910,000 and continuing claims 5.4 million. At the same time, the first data of the year on housing starts and building permits are due.

The earnings season continues apace Thursday, with results from the likes of Baker Hughes (NYSE:BKR), Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP) and Travelers (NYSE:TRV) before the bell, and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and IBM (NYSE:IBM) after the close.

Oil prices weakened Thursday after a surprise rise in U.S. crude stocks, according to data from the American Petroleum Institute, reignited concerns about the impact on demand from the pandemic in the world’s largest consumer.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration is due to release its weekly inventory report on Friday, two days later than usual due to the holiday and the inauguration.

U.S. crude futures traded 0.5% lower at $53.02 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent contract fell 0.6% to $55.73. 

Elsewhere, gold futures rose 0.2% to $1,870.80/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.4% higher at 1.2146.

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