(For a live blog on the U.S. stock market, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)
* Weekly jobless claims at 885,000 vs 862,000 in prior week
* Fed maintaining easy monetary policy helps stocks
* Futures up: Dow 0.3%, S&P 0.5%, Nasdaq 0.5%
(Adds comment, updates prices)
By Ambar Warrick and Shreyashi Sanyal
Dec 17 (Reuters) - Wall Street's main indexes were set to gain on Thursday on increased optimism over a coronavirus stimulus bill, while an unexpected rise in weekly jobless claims pointed to further economic stress from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Negotiations were underway in Congress late on Wednesday over the details of a $900 billion aid bill, with top Democrats and Republicans sounding more positive than they have in months on a fresh response to a crisis that has killed more than 304,000 Americans and thrown millions out of work. number of Americans filing first-time claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly increased last week as a relentless surge in new coronavirus infections hobbled business operations and hurt hiring trends. S&P 500 E-minis EScv1 were up 17 points, or 0.46%, at 08:36 a.m. ET, Dow E-minis 1YMcv1 were up 102 points, or 0.34%, while Nasdaq 100 E-minis NQcv1 were up 60.25 points, or 0.48%.
The Federal Reserve kept interest rates at near-zero levels on Wednesday and vowed to keep funneling cash into financial markets over the long term. Equity markets have been among the main beneficiaries of accommodative policy through the virus outbreak. have been waiting on this stimulus for months now, but we also have the Federal Reserve buying almost a trillion and a half dollars worth of assets a year," said Mike O'Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading.
"They have promised to keep interest rates at zero for the next three years and that is also where the optimism comes from."
The Nasdaq .IXIC ended the session on Wednesday at a second consecutive record high, with technology stocks in demand due to their perceived resilience through the pandemic.
Big U.S. lenders including JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM ) JPM.N , Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC ) WFC.N , Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS ) MS.N , Citigroup Inc (NYSE: C ) C.N , Bank of America Corp (NYSE: BAC ) BAC.N and Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS ) GS.N rose between 0.3% and 0.6% in premarket trade.
Outsourcing services provider Accenture (NYSE: ACN ) ACN.N rose 6.7% after it raised its annual sales forecast and beat quarterly revenue estimates as an extended work-from-home period boosted its digital, cloud and security services. Inc MGNX.O jumped 16.7% after the drug developer said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved its treatment for an advanced type of breast cancer.
Add Chart to Comment
We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:
- Enrich the conversation
- Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
- Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
- Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
- NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
- Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
- Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
- Only English comments will be allowed.
Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.