By Peter Nurse
Investing.com - U.S. stocks are set to open higher Thursday, rallying ahead of the three-day weekend amid growing confidence of an economic recovery despite the resurgence of Covid-19 cases in many states.
At 7:05 AM ET (1105 GMT), S&P 500 Futures traded 21 points, or 0.7%, higher, Nasdaq Futures up 45 points, or 0.4%. The Dow Futures contract rose 259 points, or 1%.
The three cash indexes are on course to post another positive week, following on from their best quarter in decades, amid signs that the vast monetary and fiscal stimulus from the U.S. authorities has resulted in a prompt economic recovery from the coronavirus outbreak's ravages.
The U.S. manufacturing activity rebounded more than expected in June, housing data have shown a strong bounce and retail sales posted a record jump in May, adding to hopes that the recovery will be faster than predicted.
With this in mind, attention will focus on the release of U.S. employment figures, at 8:30 AM ET (1230 GMT), to see if the world's largest economy can sustain its fragile recovery.
Economists are forecasting the addition of 3 million jobs in June, building on the surprise 2.5 million gain a month earlier. Still, it will take some time to recover the approximately 22 million jobs that were lost in March and April.
The more up-to-date information will be from the weekly numbers, which are expected to show a further drop in the number of people filing initial claims for jobless benefits to 1.355 million from 1.48 million.
Adding to the positive tone Thursday has been the news late Wednesday that a potential Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Biontech (NASDAQ:BNTX) performed well in early-stage human trials.
Progress on the vaccine front has become increasingly important as events around the world, but in the U.S. in particular, have cast doubt over the willingness and ability of countries to enforce lockdowns effectively enough to contain the virus' spread.
The number of reported new cases in the U.S. rose to over 50,000 Wednesday, a record for a single day, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. This has prompted a number of states to roll back on their reopening plans.
In corporate news, McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) will be in the spotlight after the fast-food retailing giant paused its reopening schedule, according to an internal memo seen by The Wall Street Journal.
Oil prices edged higher Thursday after Energy Information Administration data Wednesday showed crude inventories in the U.S. fell 7.2 million barrels from a record high last week, far more than expected.
This backed up the American Petroleum Institute data from the previous day, which suggests a bump up in demand for crude.
At 7:05 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.7% higher at $40.11 a barrel. The international benchmark Brent contract rose 0.8% to $42.36.
Elsewhere, gold futures were up 0.3% at $1,784.70/oz, while EUR/USD traded at 1.1276, up 0.2% on the day.