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U.S. stock futures extend rally on debt-ceiling hopes

U.S. stock futures rose on Thursday as traders continued to display confidence a debt-ceiling deal can be reached.

How are stock-index futures trading

  • S&P 500 futures

    rose 9 points, or 0.2%, to 4180

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average futures

    added 62 points, or 0.2%, to 33540

  • Nasdaq 100 futures

    gained 29 points, or 0.2%, to 13672

On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average

rose 409 points, or 1.24%, to 33421, the S&P 500

increased 49 points, or 1.19%, to 4159, and the Nasdaq Composite

gained 158 points, or 1.28%, to 12501.

What’s driving markets

Futures point to Wall Street on Thursday extending its latest rally. The S&P 500 rose 1.2% on Wednesday amid signs of easing stress in the regional banking sector and hopes the U.S. government can reach a debt-ceiling deal.

A better-than-expected first quarter earnings season and indications from the Federal Reserve that it has paused its rate-hiking cycle after inflation last month fell to a two-year low have also helped support stocks of late.

However, such positive news has still not been enough to push the S&P 500, the U.S. equity benchmark, to fresh highs for the year, with investors still wary that some data suggest an economic slowdown is underway. The Wall Street barometer has traded within a channel from 3,800 to 4,200 since early November.

“Markets remain rangebound, stuck in the debt ceiling headline loop,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management.

Indeed, the S&P 500’s range has been getting ever tighter. It has vacillated within a range of just 65 points — between 4,100 and 4,165 — over the past 10 sessions.

And option traders are not betting on a dramatic move anytime soon. The CBOE VIX index
an option-derived gauge of expected S&P 500 volatility, was below 17 early Thursday, compared to its long run average of 20.

Still, Mark Newton, head of technical strategy at Fundstrat, reckoned that the latest move higher for stocks pointed to additional gains.

“Seven of 11 sectors finished higher than 1% on the day [Wednesday] in equal-weighted terms; However, it was the rebound in both regional banks and technology that stood out as most important following recent selling pressure,” Newton wrote in a note to clients.

“Barring a move back under 4100, this should lead prices to challenge and exceed 4200 a bit more quickly than was possible given our recent seven day range of less than 1% swings,” he concluded.

U.S. economic updates set for release on Thursday include the weekly initial jobless claims report and the Philadelphia Fed factory survey for May, both due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern. The April existing home sales and  leading economic indicators reports will be published at 10 a.m.. Fed Governor Philip Jefferson, who has been nominated to become vice chair, is due to speak at 9:15 a.m.

This story originally appeared on Marketwatch

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