Friday February 12th


Stock futures dip after S&P 500 ekes out record close

U.S. stock index futures edged lower early Friday as Wall Street looked set to wrap up the week with modest gains. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to an opening loss of about 25 points. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures were each 0.2% lower. Shares of Disney rose more than 1% in extended trading after the company reported strong growth in paid streaming subscribers and crushed expectations in its earnings report for its fiscal first quarter of 2021. Disney said it now has almost 95 million paid subscribers on its Disney+ streaming service. The major averages are on track to post a positive week at record levels, though the strong rally to begin February has taken a slight breather. The blue-chip Dow dipped slightly from a record on Thursday, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite both fluctuated and eked out record closing highs. The market ground higher as investors remained hopeful for a smooth economic reopening as well as additional Covid stimulus. The Dow has gained 0.9% this week, bringing its February gains to 4.8%. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose 0.8% and 1.2%, respectively, week to date, and they have rallied 5.4% and 7.3% this month. “Between the ongoing medical and economic improvements, markets continue to expect a much better 2021 and that has supported prices,” Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial Network, said in a note. “Fourth-quarter earnings are coming in well ahead of expectations, and analysts are now adjusting their 2021 earnings estimates upwards.” President Joe Biden said Thursday his administration has secured deals for another 200 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from Moderna and Pfizer, bringing the U.S. total to 600 million. He added the U.S. will have enough supply for 300 million Americans by end of July. Shares in Australia and Japan struggled for gains on Friday where trading volume was relatively low as many markets in the region are closed for the start of the Lunar New Year holiday. In Australia, the benchmark ASX 200 dropped 0.63% to 6,806.70, with the financials, energy and materials subindexes struggling for gains, among others. Japanese markets resumed trading after being closed Thursday for a public holiday. The Nikkei 225 declined 0.14% to 29,520.07 while the Topix index climbed 0.16% to 1,933.88. Oil prices fell a second day on Friday, extending losses after OPEC cut its demand forecast and the International Energy Agency said the market was still over-supplied. Brent crude was down 37 cents, or 0.6% at $60.77 a barrel, having dropped half a percent the previous session. U.S. oil was down 43 cents, or 0.7% at $57.81 a barrel, after falling by 0.8% on Thursday. Gold slipped on Friday as the dollar rebounded, while platinum took a breather after expectations of a rebound in industrial demand drove a rally to a more than six-year peak and put it on course for its best week in two months. Spot gold fell 0.6% to $1,815.30 per ounce by 1009 GMT. U.S. gold futures slipped 0.5% to $1,816.90.