Futures hit record high on stimulus hopes, speedy vaccine rollout

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures hit a record high on Monday as investors were optimistic that a massive fiscal relief package and a rapid vaccination rollout would drive a speedy economic recovery from the pandemic-driven recession.

FILE PHOTO: The back of the the “Fearless Girl” statue is pictured as morning sunlight falls on the facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) building after the start of Thursday’s trading session in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., January 28, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq closed at record levels on Friday and logged their best weekly performance since the U.S. elections in early November, following upbeat earnings and economic data last week.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Sunday if Congress approves the $1.9 trillion plan, the country would get back to full employment next year.

Last week, Congress approved a budget plan that would allow a coronavirus relief bill to muscle through in the coming weeks without Republican support.

Progress in vaccination efforts and upbeat fourth-quarter earnings have propped up investor confidence despite fears of a short-term pullback in stocks due to heightened valuations and increasing coronavirus infections.

According to the U.S. CDC, 31.59 million people have received one or more doses of COVID-19 vaccines, while 9.15 million people got the second dose as of Sunday.

At 6:43 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 122 points, or 0.39%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 13.5 points, or 0.35%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 57.75 points, or 0.42%.

Walt Disney Co, Cisco Systems Inc and General Motors Co were all up between 1.6% and 2.5% in premarket trading, ahead of their earnings reports this week.

S&P 500 companies now on track to post earnings growth for the fourth quarter as opposed to a decline forecast previously, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Oil prices rose to their highest in a over a year, lifting Marathon Oil Corp, Schlumberger NV, Exxon Mobil Corp, Chevron Corp and Occidental Petroleum Corp by between 2.1% and 2.4%.

Hasbro Inc rose 2.6% after the toymaker beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly revenue on higher demand for its board games and “Magic: The Gathering” collectible cards.

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