Dow Futures Rise 76 Pts; Federal Reserve Meeting in Focus

Dow Futures Rise 76 Pts; Federal Reserve Meeting in Focus

Investing.com  | Dec 16, 2020 12:05

Dow Futures Rise 76 Pts; Federal Reserve Meeting in Focus

By Peter Nurse   

Investing.com - U.S. stocks are seen opening higher Wednesday, continuing the gains of the previous session, with lawmakers discussing another Covid relief package and the Federal Reserve set to conclude its latest policy-setting meeting.

At 7:05 AM ET (1205 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was up 76 points, or 0.3%, S&P 500 Futures traded 10 points, or 0.3%, higher, and Nasdaq 100 Futures climbed 25 points, or 0.2%. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 1.1% higher Tuesday, the S&P 500 index gained 1.3%, while the Nasdaq Composite index added 1.3%, closing at another record high.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other top lawmakers late Tuesday in a bid to reach an agreement on a comprehensive government funding bill as well a coronavirus relief package.

Confidence is growing that the two sides will be able to come to a compromise as the week draws to an end, with a $748 billion Covid-relief proposal, including aid for vaccine distribution and unemployed benefits, appearing to have bipartisan support. 

The Federal Reserve concludes its final monetary policy meeting of 2020 later Wednesday, with the central bank potentially laying out plans for additional asset purchases in order to provide more support for the pandemic-stricken economy. 

These decisions over additional fiscal and monetary stimuli are occurring while the pandemic surges around the country. The U.S. has recorded over 300,000 virus-related deaths, with daily cases and fatalities running at record levels. 

On a more positive note, Moderna 's  (NASDAQ:MRNA) Covid-19 vaccine is expected to receive regulatory authorization this week, adding to Pfizer’s drug, which received approval late last week and is currently being rolled out to the population.

The main economic release Wednesday will be the November retail sales figure. A drop of 0.3% from a gain of the same amount the prior month is expected, with the rise in virus prompting shutdowns, likely offsetting a strong start to the holiday shopping season. December PMI manufacturing and services data are also due, following on from better than expected equivalent data in Europe earlier Wednesday. 

In the corporate sector, e-commerce firm Contextlogic (NASDAQ:WISH), which does business as Wish, is set to start trading on Nasdaq after pricing its IPO at $24 a share, raising $1.1 billion. 

Oil prices slipped back Wednesday following a surprise increase in U.S. inventories, putting the focus back on the impact on demand, given the tighter lockdowns caused by the surge in Covid-19 cases.

Crude stocks grew by almost 2 million barrels in the week to Dec. 11, according to industry group API, compared with the 3.5-million-barrel draw expected. Official government data are scheduled for later Wednesday.

U.S. crude futures traded 0.1% lower at $47.61 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent contract fell 0.1% to $50.73. 

Elsewhere, gold futures rose 0.4% to $1,862.30/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.4% higher at 1.2193.

 

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