Thursday February 4th


Stock futures rise slightly as Wall Street tries to build on a three-day winning streak

U.S. stock index futures rose slightly early Thursday after Wall Street notched a three-day winning streak. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures gained 40 points. S&P 500 futures edged up 0.2% and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 0.4%. Apple rose 2% in premarket trading after CNBC reported that it is close to finalizing a deal with Hyundai-Kia to produce driverless cars. News that the two may be close to a deal comes after Hyundai said in January that it was in preliminary talks with the iPhone maker to develop a car. Shares of EBay jumped more than 10% in early trading after beating on both the top and bottom lines and issuing a rosier-than-expected forecast for the first quarter. PayPal gained nearly 6% after better-than-expected quarterly results, while Qualcomm slipped more than 6% after reporting revenues below consensus estimates for its fiscal first quarter. A better-than-expected jobless claims report helped boost sentiment. First-time claims for unemployment insurance totaled 779,000 for the week ended Jan. 30, below the 830,000 estimate from economists surveyed by Dow Jones. The moves in futures followed three straight positive sessions for the major averages. So far this week, the blue-chip Dow has gained 2.5%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq have risen 3.1% and 4.1%, respectively. The economic recovery and market performance have tracked the severity of Covid-19 in the U.S., with some strategists saying the rollout of vaccines could lead to higher interest rates if not outperformance in cyclical or bank stocks. “Covid vaccine sentiment is still very low. That will improve as investors understand that vaccines will give you either 1) immunity or 2) mild reaction (severity low),” Evercore ISI strategist Dennis DeBusschere wrote in an email on Wednesday. “As investors and society at large realize low severity is really important, vaccine sentiment will improve and [Treasury] yields will have another gap higher,” he added. The yield on the benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury note rose about 3 basis points on Wednesday to 1.14%. Shares in major Asia-Pacific markets slipped on Thursday, with South Korea leading the losses. The Kospi in South Korea declined 1.35% to close at 3,087.55. Mainland Chinese stocks also closed lower, with the Shanghai composite down 0.44% to 3.501.86 while the Shenzhen component slid 0.835% to 15,105.94. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dipped about 0.6%, as of its final hour of trading. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 shed 1.06% to close at 28,341.95 while the Topix index slipped 0.32% to end its trading day at 1,865.12. Oil prices extended gains on Thursday after the OPEC+ alliance of major producers stuck to a reduced output policy, and as crude stockpiles in the United States fell to their lowest levels since March last year. Brent crude futures gained 47 cents, or 0.8%, to $58.93 a barrel, by 0317 GMT, having earlier hit their highest since Feb. 21, 2020 in the wake of the OPEC+ decision. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures climbed 49 cents, or 0.9%, to $56.18 a barrel after reaching its highest settlement level in a year on Wednesday. Gold and silver slipped on Thursday, as the dollar and U.S. Treasury yields gained and markets awaited clarity on U.S. fiscal stimulus measures and the Bank of England’s policy outlook. Spot gold dropped 1.2% to $1,812.50 per ounce by 1039 GMT, after earlier touching a two-month low. U.S. gold futures fell 1.3% to $1,811.90. Spot silver dropped 1.5% from the previous close to $26.46. Prices declined more than 12% since scaling a near eight-year peak of $30.03 on Monday, as a GameStop-style retail frenzy fizzled out.