Dow Futures Rise 60 Pts; Yellen Defends Need for More Stimulus

imageStock Markets5 hours ago (Feb 19, 2021 12:13)

By Peter Nurse – U.S. stocks are seen opening slightly higher Friday, ending a subdued week on a positive tone as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen asserted the need for a substantial stimulus package to consolidate the country’s economic recovery.  

At 7:15 AM ET (1215 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was up 60 points, or 0.2%, S&P 500 Futures traded 11 points, or 0.3%, higher, and Nasdaq 100 Futures climbed 57 points, or 0.4%. 

Helping the mood Friday were comments from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen after the close Thursday. She stated that $1.9 trillion in pandemic-relief spending is still needed, despite recent strong economic data, citing the continued weakness in the labor market, as U.S. jobless claims hit a four-week high.

“The price of doing too little is much larger than the price of doing something big,” she said, on CNBC Thursday.

The Biden administration’s proposed $1.9 trillion Covid relief package could come to a vote in the House of Representatives next week, according to Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The stock market’s recent rally has stagnated this week amid concerns of rising U.S. Treasury yields. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite are down 0.5% and 1.6% this week, respectively, on track to break their two-week winning streak, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is largely unchanged.

There’s not much on the calendar for Friday in terms of government economic data or earnings, but Uber Technologies (NYSE:UBER) is likely to be in the spotlight after the ride-hailing company lost a U.K. Supreme Court ruling, threatening the company’s business model in its largest European market. Its drivers now have to be classified as “workers” and thus be entitled to rights like minimum wage, holiday pay and rest breaks.  The company has already effectively averted a similar threat in the U.S., its most important market.

Oil prices retreated Friday from 13-month highs as wells in Texas, the U.S.’s biggest oil-producing state, resumed production once the week’s unexpected wintry snap passed.

The focus is shifting to the impact on refineries amid worries they will take time to resume operations, creating a gap in demand which will likely lead to builds in crude stocks over coming weeks.

U.S. crude stockpiles fell more than expected last week, before the freeze, with inventories down by 7.3 million barrels to their lowest level since March, the Energy Information Administration said Thursday.

U.S. crude futures traded 2% lower at $59.32 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent contract fell 1.4% to $63.02.

Elsewhere, gold futures fell 0.3% to $1,769.60/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.4% higher at 1.2136.

Dow Futures Rise 60 Pts; Yellen Defends Need for More Stimulus

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