Friday April 21st


Wall Street set to open slightly higher after Mnuchin suggests tax reforms are close

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Friday after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the White House would unveil a tax plan "very soon." The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.85 percent, the S&P 500 climbed 0.76 percent and the Nasdaq closed at a record high, rising 0.92 percent. Investors will be keeping an eye on earnings and watching developments in Europe, where the first round of the French presidential will take place on Sunday. On the earnings front, General Electric posted better-than-expected quarterly results, while Morningstar is set to report after the bell. In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx 600 Index traded 0.25 percent higher. On Thursday night, France was shaken by a suspected terror attack. One policeman was killed and two were wounded after a gunman, who was later shot dead by police, opened fire. Sunday will see French voters cast their ballots in the first round of their presidential election. The race is seen as too close to call, and could have a wide-ranging impact depending on the result. Those in the running include the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen; the independent centrist Emmanuel Macron; and the conservative candidate Francois Fillon. The top two candidates in the first round will face a runoff on May 7. Back in the U.S., on the data front, Friday will see existing home sales released at 10:00 a.m. ET. In oil markets, Brent crude traded at around $53.05 a barrel on Friday, up 0.13 percent, while U.S. crude was around $50.70 a barrel. Gold prices treaded water on Friday as investors awaited the outcome of weekend French elections and possible announcements about tax cuts in the United States. Spot gold was up 0.15 percent to $1,283.29 per ounce, on track for its first weekly drop in six. U.S. gold futures also added 0.08 percent to $1,284.80.