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11 Feb 2021 | 11:45

US pre-open: Futures move higher as February rally looks set to resume

(Sharecast News) - Wall Street futures had stocks opening higher ahead of the bell on Thursday as major indices looked set to continue on their February ascent. As of 1235 GMT, Dow Jones futures were up 0.25%, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 futures had the indices opening 0.28% and 0.42% firmer, respectively.

The Dow Jones closed 61.97 points higher on Wednesday reversing the prior session's loss that narrowly put a stop to a multi-day winning streak for the index.

Corporate earnings were again in focus on Thursday, with Molson Coors reinstating full-year guidance despite witnessing a 7.7% decrease in net sales revenues and a $1.4bn net loss in the fourth quarter, while Kraft Heinz outperformed market expectations and announced the sale of its Planters peanuts business to Hormel Foods for $3.35bn in cash.

PepsiCo posted a quarterly earnings beat thanks to 8.8% revenue growth in the period, while Kellogg was also scheduled to post their latest quarterly figures shortly.

Still to come, Disney and Expedia will both report their latest quarterly earnings after the close.

Also in focus were comments from Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell who warned overnight that the US economy still faced many challenges in the labour market and stated monetary policy would need to stay "patiently accommodative" as a result, while ongoing stimulus talks in Washington were still drawing an amount of investors' attention.

IG's Chris Beauchamp said: "Stock markets are recovering some recent losses this morning, after Jerome Powell laid to rest any fears about an overeager Fed moving to tighten policy prematurely. In a week mostly devoid of any heavyweight data on the economic front, the progress towards fiscal stimulus has been the key driver, but the presence of a speech by the FOMC chairman held back risk appetite yesterday.

"Fortunately for the bulls, Powell was keen to stress that there was no rush to change policy, and that 'substantial further progress' would need to be made on the Fed's dual mandate. At present, the employment element of that mandate is much more important, and with inflation still low the Fed has continued to signal that its foot remains firmly on the accelerator. Nonetheless, investors are still jittery, worrying that the recent highs for some indices will not hold, so we can expect more volatility around current levels even as the overall push higher continues."

Additionally, market participants will be keeping a close eye on this week's jobless claims report from the Labor Department at 1330 GMT, with economists expecting new claims for jobless benefits to come in at 760,000, a touch lower than the total of 779,000 reported the week before.

Elsewhere on the macro front, the Federal Reserve's monetary policy report was slated for release at 1600 GMT and the 2022 US budget plan will be posted at 1900 GMT.
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