U.S stock index futures were muted in early morning trading on Thursday, largely holding on to the major averages’ gains from the Wednesday session.
Futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed just 13 points. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures both traded around the flatline.
Stocks rose on Wednesday during regular trading hours, snapping a two-day losing streak, as companies tied to the economy reopening led the way higher. The Dow advanced 316 points, or 0.93%, while the S&P 500 rose 0.93%. The Nasdaq Composite was the relative outperformer of the major indices, rallying 1.19%.
Small caps were a particular point of strength during the session, with the Russell 2000 ending the day 2.35% higher for its best day since March 1.
The Dow and S&P 500 are less than 1% away from reclaiming their record highs, reached last Friday, amid ongoing optimism over the pace of the economic recovery.
“Stocks continue to fire on almost ‘all cylinders’ and remain in a strong position as the bull expands across the cyclical, secular, and increasingly the defensive [sector] with an economy on the offensive,” noted strategists at Evercore ISI. “The sum of which in conjunction with rising metals and materials, a milquetoast dollar, and a 10-year at 1.55%, offers the technical definition of ‘Goldilocks’ as we consolidate the powerful rally atop key support,” the firm said.
A busy week of earnings season will continue on Thursday with a host of companies set to report quarterly results.
AT&T, D.R. Horton, Southwest, American Airlines, Union Pacific and Biogen are among the names on deck before the opening bell. Intel, Snap, Mattel, Boston Beer and Seagate Technology will report after the market closes.
Economic data released Thursday will also give investors a snapshot of the ongoing economic recovery. Initial jobless claims will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET, with economists expecting a print of 603,000, according to estimates from Dow Jones. Existing home sales data will be released at 10 a.m. ET.
“Significant stimulus, with more coming from the Biden administration, has driven economic forecasts up and might push overall EPS expectations from the $174 consensus projection currently to $180-$185,” Citi’s Tobias Levkovich said in a recent note. “We think that equities are reflecting something closer to $190, which suggests that much is already priced in and that any shortfall could cause a meaningful pullback,” he added.
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