Futures jump on stimulus hopes ahead of retail sales report

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© Reuters. The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York © Reuters. The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York

By Medha Singh and Devik Jain

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures jumped on Tuesday on hopes that aggressive fiscal and monetary stimulus would kick start an economy crushed by the COVID-19 pandemic, with expectations of a record rebound in May retail sales also driving sentiment.

A Commerce Department report is likely to show U.S. retail sales experienced a record rise in May. However, any rebound will retrace only a fraction of the historic drops in March and April amid the coronavirus lockdowns.

Futures got a boost following a report that the Trump administration was preparing a nearly $ 1 trillion infrastructure proposal to spur the economy. It comes a day after the Federal Reserve announced details of a program to financially aid companies hit by the pandemic.

U.S. stocks ended a volatile session higher on Monday as the Fed announcement that it would start purchasing corporate debt on Tuesday as part of its recently launched emergency facilities to improve market functioning, overshadowed worries over a spike in coronavirus cases in China and United States.

“Investors are looking beyond the resurgence of the virus to the many billions of dollars already spent and being considered, including the infrastructure package,” said Christopher Grisanti, chief equity strategist at MAI Capital Management in Cleveland.

Investors will be keeping a close watch on a live telecast of Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s two-day testimony before the Congress which is expected to begin at 10 a.m. ET.

Powell’s remarks follow the grim outlook from the U.S. central bank last week that brought back volatility into stock markets after bets of a swift economic rebound helped the Nasdaq to record highs and confirm a bull market.

The benchmark S&P 500 index is now about 9% below its record high hit four months earlier after coming within 5% of that level early last week.

“I continue to believe that the market is ahead of itself. We think there’s still more difficult times ahead, and we would be very cautious,” Grisanti added.

At 7:33 a.m. ET, were up 426 points, or 1.65%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 35.75 points, or 1.16% and were up 106.5 points, or 1.09%.

Shares from the economically sensitive industrial, financial and energy sectors rose.

Travel-related stocks jumped with Delta Air Lines Inc (NYSE:), United Airlines Holdings (NASDAQ:) Inc, Carnival (NYSE:) Corp, Norwegian Cruise Line (NYSE:) Holdings Ltd and Royal Caribbean (NYSE:) Cruises Ltd up between 8% and 10% in premarket trading.

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