U.S. Futures Higher; More Fiscal Spending Expected

© Reuters © Reuters

By Peter Nurse

Investing.com – U.S. stocks are seen opening higher Thursday, continuing record highs with investors positioning for increased fiscal spending following the Democrats claiming control of the Senate after the Georgia runoff elections.

At 7:05 AM ET (1205 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was up 66 points, or 0.2%, S&P 500 Futures traded 13 points, or 0.4%, higher, and Nasdaq 100 Futures climbed 97 points, or 0.8%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 1.4%, or 437 points, higher on Wednesday, a record high, and the S&P 500 ended up 0.6%. The Nasdaq Composite lost 0.6%.

Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are now projected to win the runoffs for Georgia's two seats in the Senate, meaning that their party will now have control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, in addition to the White House.

This will make it easier for President-elect Joe Biden to enact his policies, likely resulting in more fiscal largesse, particularly after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that increasing stimulus checks to $2,000 would be one of the first legislative proposals.

Earlier Thursday, Congress reconvened and formally confirmed the election of Joe Biden as the next President, after Wednesday’s dramatic scenes with pro-Trump supporters storming Capitol Hill and forcing lawmakers to seek shelter.

President Donald Trump finally tried to tone down the inflamed situation, saying early Thursday he was willing to allow an “orderly transition” of power.

The key economic data release Thursday will be the weekly initial jobless claims, at 8:30 AM ET (1330 GMT), ahead of Friday’s crucial nonfarm payrolls report. ADP private payrolls in December declined 123,000, evidence of a significant slowdown in the economy.

Balance of trade data for November are also due later Thursday, along with the December ISM non-manufacturing figures.

Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY), Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ), Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) and ConAgra Foods (NYSE:CAG) report quarterly earnings before the bell on Thursday, while chipmaker Micron (NASDAQ:MU) reports after the bell.

Oil prices traded mixed, but still at relatively elevated levels after a bigger-than-expected drop in U.S. crude stockpiles added to the bullish tone created by Saudi Arabia’s pledge earlier this week to cut output by one million barrels per day in February and March.

U.S. crude futures traded 0.3% higher at $50.80 a barrel, moving decisively above the $50 level for the first time since February, while the international benchmark Brent contract fell 0.1% to $54.24.

Elsewhere, gold futures rose 0.6% to $1,915.15/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.6% lower at 1.2253.

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