Friday June 19th


Dow futures rise 350 points as Wall Street heads for a winning week

U.S. stock index futures were higher early Friday following a muted session in which traders grappled with disappointing unemployment data and worried about rising coronavirus cases. Futures gained amid a report by Bloomberg News that China was set to up its purchases of U.S. farm products to comply with phase one trade deal. The report eased concerns about U.S.-China trade relations as the two countries exchange heated rhetoric regarding the coronavirus. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 350 points, or 1.0%. The move implied a higher open of 300 points. S&P 500 futures added 0.9%. Nasdaq-100 futures also gained 0.8%. Stocks tied to the reopening of the economy gained in the premarkets. United Airlines rose 2%, while Kohl’s gained 5%. Oil and energy stocks were among the biggest gainers in premarket trading, with Devon Energy jumping nearly 5%. The Energy Select SPDR ETF gained nearly 3% in premarket. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite headed into Friday’s session on pace for their fourth weekly gain in five weeks. The Dow is up 1.9% week to date through Thursday’s close while the S&P 500 has gained 2.4% in that time. The Nasdaq has climbed more than 3% over that time period. On Thursday, the Dow closed just below the flatline, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq eked out small gains. The major averages gyrated between gains and losses for most of the day. At one point, the Dow had fallen more than 270 points. A report Thursday showed initial U.S. jobless claims totaled 1.5 million last week, topping a Dow Jones estimate of 1.3 million. “The number of new jobless claims fell for the eleventh week in a row but this week, the improvement was much smaller even compared to last week’s upwardly revised figure,” said Ken Berman of Gorilla Trades. “While the May jobs report was much better than expected, this month’s job-related indicators were far from stellar, and that could mean that the pace of the recovery is slowing.” Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise in certain parts of the U.S. Texas, California, Arizona and Florida all reported its biggest-ever one-day increase. Some investors fear that a resurgence in coronavirus cases could lead to states retaking stricter quarantine measures to curb the spread, thus thwarting expectations of a smooth economic recovery. To be sure, those increases come as states ramp up testing. “The rally of the past few months may have led to stocks reaching within striking distance of record highs, but investors are struggling to reconcile upward momentum and less optimistic messages about the months ahead,” said Lindsey Bell, chief investment strategist at Ally Invest. “That, along with concerns about a second wave of coronavirus and geopolitical tensions, has led to some serious indecisiveness.” Stocks in Asia Pacific were higher on Friday as investors continued to monitor the situation surrounding a recent uptick in coronavirus cases in some countries. Mainland Chinese stocks were higher by the afternoon, with the Shanghai composite up 0.96% to around 2,967.63 while the Shenzhen component added 1.51% to about 11,668.13. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.97%, as of its final hour of trading. Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed 0.55% higher at 22,478.79 while the Topix index finished its trading day little changed at 1,582.80. Over in South Korea, the Kospi closed 0.37% higher at 2,141.32. Oil rose to above $42 a barrel on Friday, adding to gains in the previous session, after OPEC producers and allies promised to meet supply cuts and signs of demand, hit by the coronavirus crisis, recovering. Iraq and Kazakhstan, during a meeting of an OPEC+ panel on Thursday, pledged to comply better with oil cuts, sources said. This means curbs by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, known as OPEC+, could deepen in July. “There is enthusiasm in the market that oil supply is still under control,” said Paola Rodriguez Masiu, analyst at Rystad Energy. “A positive OPEC+ meeting does that and yesterday’s session helped renew confidence.” Brent crude was up 80 cents, or 1.9%, at $42.31 after hitting $42.89, its highest since June 8. West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 99 cents, or 2.5%, to $39.83 per barrel. Gold gained on Friday as concerns over a rise in coronavirus cases propped up demand for the safe-haven metal, which has benefited in recent months from monetary stimulus measures to offset the impact of the pandemic. Spot gold was up 0.5% at $1,731.65 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures were 0.6% higher at $1,740.90. Spot prices reached their highest since 2012 last month at $1,764.55.