US stock index futures were little changed overnight Thursday, after the S&P 500 posted its best day since March with stronger-than-expected earnings.
Futures contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 36 points. S&P 500 futures were up 0.11%, while Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.12%.
During regular trading, the S&P 500 was up 1.71%, recording its best day since March 5. The Dow gained 1.55%, breaking a four-day losing streak. The 30-stock benchmark had its best day since July 20. The Nasdaq Composite gained 1.73% on its best day since May. All three averages are on course to end the week in the green.
The gains come amid a strong start to the earnings season. Eight members of the S&P 500 released their quarterly results Thursday morning, each exceeding Wall Street expectations. Financial heavyweights Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup were among the names that reported.
“Banks have painted a strong and healthy picture of the American consumer,” noted Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda. “Wall Street cannot turn negative about the economy after seeing reserve releases, moderation in business income, mixed loan growth and a consumer ready to go into debt,” he added.
Goldman Sachs, JB Hunt and PNC Financial are among the names that will release their quarterly results on Friday.
A better-than-expected employment reading also boosted sentiment on Thursday. Weekly unemployment claims for the previous week totaled 293,000, the Labor Department said, which was the first time the reading has fallen below 300,000 since the start of the pandemic.
Thursday’s gains came despite high inflation figures, which some believe could derail the economic recovery. The consumer price index jumped 0.4% in September and 5.4% year-on-year, according to data from the Ministry of Labor.
“One thing is clear is that inflation has been consistently above expectations over the summer, and the Fed is starting to realize this,” said Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist at Allianz Investment. Management.
“Higher inflation levels make it difficult for the Fed to ignore and some market participants have questioned the ‘transitional’ view of inflation … we believe higher inflation levels are forcing the Fed to advance its exit strategy from high levels of monetary stimulus, ”he added.
On the economic data front, retail sales figures will be released Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET, while the University of Michigan consumer sentiment reading will be recorded at 10 a.m. ET.
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