US Stock Market Weak Ahead of Opening Amid Profit-Taking, Stimulus Uncertainty

by Warrior2

Wall Street traders are keeping an eye on Washington as policymakers start to lay the foundation of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief package.

U.S. stock index futures are trading lower early Friday morning and there are signs that investors are moving funds into the safe-haven U.S. Dollar as nervous bulls appeared to be lightening up on the long side after setting record highs earlier in the week.

At 09:18 GMT, the benchmark S&P 500 Index is trading 0.54% lower, the blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average is off by 0.59% and the technology-driven NASDAQ Composite is down about 0.47%.

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Futures Rise with Investors Optimistic About More Stimulus Under Biden’s Administration

Hopes for a robust earnings season from the country’s largest communications and tech stocks have bolstered demand for mega-cap stocks this week, helping to drive the NASDAQ Composite higher. Apple and Facebook have risen 7.7% and 8.6%, respectively, this week ahead of their quarterly results, while Microsoft has gained 5.8%.

The price action in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Index has been a little more muted.

Thursday Recap:  S&P, NASDAQ Close at Record Highs on Optimism about Biden Stimulus Plan

The S&P 500 and NASDAQ Composite closed at record highs on Thursday, propelled by optimism about more pandemic relief under the Biden administration to support the economy after data showed a tepid labor market recovery. The Dow was also poised for a record until falling into negative territory in the final minutes of trading.

Traders were also driven by somewhat stronger than expected economic news. Weekly initial jobless claims were lower than expected but the reading showed a tepid labor market recovery that could show up in the next U.S. Non-Farm Payrolls report. But other data showed the housing and manufacturing sectors as areas of strength to help buttress the economy.

Technology, consumer discretionary and communication services which includes Alphabet and Facebook, were the only S&P sectors in the green.

Energy slipped 3.44% as the biggest drag among 11 major S&P sectors, following news Biden revoked the Keystone XL oil pipeline project’s presidential permit.Advertisement

Stocks on the Move

Intel shares soared late in the session as its earnings report was released early and it forecast first-quarter earnings and revenue above expectations. The chipmaker’s shares closed up 6.46%.

United Airlines Holdings Inc dropped 5.73% after posting a fourth straight quarterly loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic but said it aims to cut about $2 billion of annual costs through 2023.

Ford Motor Co jumped 6.17% extending gains for a second straight day after Deutsche Bank raised its price target on the U.S. automaker’s stock.

Shares of IBM fell more than 6% in the extended session after the company reported fourth-quarter sales below where analysts were expecting. Revenue fell 6% on an annualized basis, the fourth consecutive quarter of declines.

Looking Ahead…

Wall Street traders are keeping an eye on Washington as policymakers start to lay the foundation of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief package.

CNBC is reporting the package may eventually come in lower than Biden’s original $1.9 trillion proposal. They cite some moderate senators, who have expressed doubts over the need for another bill, especially one with such a price tag, less than one month after Congress passed a $900 billion stimulus bill in December.

Meanwhile, the Senate is expected on Friday to overwhelmingly confirm former Fed Chair Janet Yellen as Biden’s Treasury secretary.

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