August 13, 2021 - 05:01 PM 320 views
U.S. stocks are seen edging higher Friday, with a generally positive week coming to an end, boosted by a rebounding labor market and strong corporate earnings.
At 7:05 AM ET (1105 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was up 35 points, or 0.1%, S&P 500 Futures traded 2 points, less than 0.1%, higher, while Nasdaq 100 Futures was largely flat.
The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average and the broad-based S&P 500 are on track to finish the week with gains of 0.8% and 0.6%, respectively, both new record highs. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite has underperformed this week, down 0.1%.
Helping the tone has been a generally strong earnings season, with over 90% of the S&P 500 companies having already reported, and about 88% of them beating expectations, according to data from Refinitiv.
Entertainment giant Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) provided further evidence of this after the close Thursday, beating expectations for the most recent quarter as its streaming services picked up more customers than expected and pandemic-hit U.S. theme parks returned to profitability.
Economic data this week has shown that the U.S. economy is growing robustly, with the labor market rebounding as weekly jobless claims fell for the third week running. However, Covid-19 remains a headwind, and this is likely to limit consumer confidence going forward.
The main data release Friday comes in the form of the preliminary reading of the University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment Index, at 10 AM ET (1400 GMT), and is seen unchanged from last month at 81.2.
Oil prices slipped lower Friday, amid growing concerns that the spread of the Covid-19 delta variant will curtail oil demand growth as the year progresses.
By 7:05 AM ET, U.S. crude futures were down 0.%3 at $68.82 a barrel, while Brent futures dropped 0.2% at $71.16 a barrel.
The flare-up of Covid cases in China, the second largest consumer of oil in the world, is causing the most concern. Authorities there have taken an aggressive approach to containing the outbreak, including shutting down one of the world’s busiest container ports after one case was reported.
The IEA predicted, in a report released Thursday, that demand growth would be half a million barrels per day lower in the second half of the year compared with its estimate last month, citing new Covid-19 restrictions.
The weekly update from Baker Hughes of the number of oil rigs will be of interest later Friday, while the CFTC will release its weekly commitments of traders report.