Nasdaq set for record open as economic concerns drive tech gains

(Reuters) – The Nasdaq was set for a record open on Friday as investors sought sectors less exposed to economic ructions ahead of voting on President Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion spending bill, while rising COVID-19 cases in Europe also dented sentiment.

FILE PHOTO: The Nasdaq logo is displayed at the Nasdaq Market site in New York September 2, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

The S&P 500 and Dow Jones were set to fall tracking losses in banks, airlines and other economically sensitive sectors. Uncertainty over rising inflation and the Federal Reserve’s policy tightening also kept demand for cyclical stocks low.

The U.S. House of Representatives early on Friday delayed an anticipated vote on passage of Biden’s social programs and climate change investment bill, and reconvened at 8 a.m. EST (1300 GMT) to complete the legislation.

In Europe, rising COVID-19 cases saw Austria outline plans for a full lockdown, while Germany could follow suit amid a new wave of infections.

“There’s some pandemic risk. However, I don’t believe that the U.S. will head in the direction like Austria headed today. If Germany institutes a full lockdown, that would probably have an impact, again, to the supply chain,” said Tom Mantione, managing director, UBS Private Wealth Management in Stamford, Connecticut.

“The biggest risk here to the market is not legislative policy or pandemic… If the Fed chooses to react quickly and aggressively to persistent inflation, then the markets (are) going to have a problem.”

Shares of Alphabet Inc, Amazon.com and Microsoft Corp – stocks which have largely persevered through economic shocks since 2020 – rose between 0.3% and 0.7% in premarket trade, while Netflix added more than 1%.

Chipmaker Nvidia also boosted Nasdaq futures, rising 1.3% in heavy trade after posting strong quarterly results late Wednesday.

On the other hand, carriers including Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines, and cruiseliners Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Corp fell between 1.4% and 3.3%.

Major oil firms, including Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp, slipped 2.4% and 3.3% as crude prices sank, while Wall Street’s big banks were down between 1.4% and 2.5%, tracking a fall in U.S. Treasury yields. [O/R][US/]

At 8:35 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 230 points, or 0.64%. S&P 500 e-minis were down 11.75 points, or 0.25% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 67.75 points, or 0.41%.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq eked out record highs on Thursday following strong technology and retail earnings. Both indexes were headed for mild weekly gains, while the Dow Jones was set for a second straight week of losses.

Among major premarket movers, Intuit Inc jumped 12.7% as brokerages raised their price targets on the income tax software company after it beat quarterly estimates and raised forecast. The stock was the top S&P 500 gainer in premarket trade.

Applied Materials Inc dropped 6.1% after the chipmaker forecast first-quarter sales and profit below market estimates on supply chain woes.

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