US stock index futures were little changed during Thursday’s overnight trading after the S&P 500 posted its best day since March with unexpectedly strong gains.
Futures contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 36 points. S&P 500 futures gained 0.11% while Nasdaq 100 futures gained 0.12%.
During regular trading, the S&P 500 rose 1.71% to see its best day since March 5th. The Dow was up 1.55%, ending a four-day losing streak. The 30-stock benchmark had its best day since July 20th. The Nasdaq Composite gained 1.73% for its best day since May. All three averages are well on their way to ending the week in the green.
The profits come amid a strong start to the winning season. Eight members of the S&P 500 released quarterly results Thursday morning, each one exceeding Wall Street’s expectations. Reports included financial heavyweights Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, and Citigroup, among others.
“The banks painted a strong and healthy picture of US consumers,” noted Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda. “Wall Street cannot negatively impact the economy after seeing the release of reserves, moderation in trade revenues, mixed credit growth and a consumer ready to take on debt,” he added.
Goldman Sachs, JB Hunt and PNC Financial are among the names to release quarterly results on Friday.
A better-than-expected employment value also boosted sentiment on Thursday. Weekly unemployment claims for the previous week were 293,000, according to the Ministry of Labor, which was below 300,000 for the first time since the pandemic began.
Thursday’s gains came despite hot inflation data some warned that could undo the economic recovery. According to the Ministry of Labor, the consumer price index rose 0.4% in September and 5.4% year-on-year.
“What is clear is that inflation remained above expectations over the summer and the Fed is starting to notice it,” said Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist at Allianz Investment Management.
“The higher inflation rates make it difficult for the Fed to ignore them and some market participants have questioned the ‘temporary’ view of inflation … high monetary incentives,” he added.
On the front line of economic data, retail sales figures will be released on Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET, while the University of Michigan consumer sentiment will be released at 10 a.m. ET.
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