Futures rise as focus turns to weekly jobless claims

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures inched higher on Thursday on hopes the Federal Reserve would maintain an accommodative policy amid signs that a broader economic recovery was slowing.

FILE PHOTO: People are seen on Wall Street outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., March 19, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Heavyweight technology stocks including Apple Inc, Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc, which tend to perform better when interest rates are low, were among the biggest gainers in premarket trading.

Oil majors Exxon Mobil, Chevron Corp and Schlumberger NV also rose between 0.2% and 0.5%, tracking crude prices. [O/R]

The S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq have consistently hit record highs over the past few weeks as a solid corporate earnings season underpinned confidence even as data showed the post-pandemic U.S. economic growth was beginning to slow.

Still, strategists said those highs could be challenged as the rebound in corporate profits loses its edge and the pressure builds on the Fed to taper its massive stimulus.

A Reuters poll last month showed the S&P 500 is likely to end 2021 at 4,500 points, slightly lower than current levels.

Focus on Thursday will be on weekly jobless claims data, before turning to the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report on Friday, which could set the stage for the Fed’s policy meeting later in the month.

At 7:13 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 53 points, or 0.15%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 8 points, or 0.18%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 35.5 points, or 0.23%.

Online pet supplies store Chewy dropped 10.2% to be the top losing stock pre-market on the NYSE Composite after it reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss and missed Wall Street revenue estimates.

Electric-vehicle charging firm ChargePoint surged 12.6% after it beat quarterly revenue estimates and forecast full-year revenue higher than expectations as it benefits from its growing charging station networks.

U.S. listed shares of Chinese ride hailing firm Didi fell 1.3% after Chinese regulators summoned ride-hailing firms including Didi to discuss concerns related to the sector.

Heavyweight banks JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo gained around 0.5%.

Source: Read Full Article