Stock futures advance ahead of trade data


U.S. equity futures edged higher on Thursday ahead of new data on the trade deficit and jobless claims that could provide new information on the pace of the economic recovery.

S&P 500-linked futures rose less than 0.2%, indicating modest gains at the opening bell after the broad market index closed 0.5% lower on Wednesday. Nasdaq-100 futures also gained 0.1% and Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were relatively stable.

Major stock indexes have faltered in recent days over fears the rebound will slow down and the Delta variant of Covid-19 will lead to an increase in cases. New data on Wednesday showed the private sector created half as many jobs in July as economists had expected. Despite the volatility, the S&P 500 is still hovering near its all-time high, driven by strong quarterly results from the largest companies.

“We’re pretty positive, we think the earnings data is very strong,” said Caroline Simmons, UK investment director at UBS Global Wealth Management. Stock markets may continue to climb 5% to 10% over the next year, she said.

Persistent signs of weakness in the labor market also suggest that the Federal Reserve will refrain from cutting its easy money policies for now, Simmons added.

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