By Devik Jain and Medha Singh
(Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes were set to open higher on Thursday as bets on more pandemic aid under a Democrat-controlled U.S. Congress eclipsed data showing elevated levels of unemployment claims.
The number of Americans filing for jobless benefits unexpectedly dipped last week while staying extremely high, a Labor Department report showed, with the job market recovery appearing to stall as COVID-19 threatens to overwhelm the country.
The more comprehensive jobs report for December is expected on Friday.
“The vaccines are here, they’re being distributed.. and the markets looking through that, so I’m not sure the short-term jobless data will be an issue to the market,” said Tom Mantione, managing director of UBS Private Wealth Management in Stamford, Connecticut.
After a dull start to the week, financials and industrial stocks powered the Dow and the to all-time highs on Wednesday in hopes that some of President-elect Joe Biden’s policies could speed up a vaccine-driven recovery.
“The market is telling you that fiscal stimulus is more important, and will be more impactful than the modest tax hikes likely to be passed by the administration,” Mantione said.
“A unified government will be a little bit of a more smooth path to fiscal stimulus.”
However, the Nasdaq, dominated by FAANG stocks that had led Wall Street’s rally from the pandemic lows, closed lower on fears that some of the companies could face antitrust scrutiny.
The Congress on Thursday certified Biden’s election victory, hours after hundreds of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in a harrowing assault on American democracy that briefly hit markets.
At 08:15 a.m. ET, Dow E-minis were up 121 points, or 0.39%, S&P 500 E-minis were up 21.5 points, or 0.57%, and E-minis were up 104.25 points, or 0.83%.
Bank of America Corp (NYSE:), Citigroup Inc (NYSE:), JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:) rose in pre-market trading as the hovered near 1%. [US/]
DXC Technology jumped about 10% as France’s IT consulting group Atos made a more than $10 billion takeover approach for its U.S. rival, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.
Electric-car maker Tesla (NASDAQ:) Inc jumped 2.7% and was set for a record open after RBC Capital Markets upgraded its stock rating to “sector perform”.
Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:) Inc gained 2.7%, leading gains among members of the Dow, after it beat analysts’ estimates for adjusted quarterly profit, driven by higher sales at its retail pharmacy stores and higher prescription volumes.
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