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US open: Major indices on track for weekly gains despite modest early losses

Fri 12 February 2021 15:38 | A A A

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(Sharecast News) - Wall Street stocks were in the red early on Friday but major indices still looked set to round out the week with some modest gains.

As of 1535 GMT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.21% at 31,364.48, while the S&P 500 was 0.12% weaker at 3,911.64 and the Nasdaq Composite came out the gate 0.33% softer at 13,980.16.

The Dow opened just 64.74 points lower on Friday, erasing yesterday's minuscule gains.

Market participants remained optimistic regarding Joe Biden's response to the Covid-19 pandemic after the president said on Thursday that his administration had secured deals for a further 200.0m doses of Covid-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer, bringing the US' total stockpile to 600.0m, with enough for 300.0m Americans by the end of July.

In addition to a smooth economic reopening as a result of the vaccines, investors also remained hopeful for the passing of an additional Covid-19 stimulus package.

However, SpreadEx's Connor Campbell said: "Now that Biden's American Rescue Plan is making its journey through Congress, the Dow has to sit and wait out this quieter period, until the bill arrives at the Senate at the end of February/start of March and the fireworks resume."

Corporate earnings also remained in focus, with Disney shares advancing in extended trading on the back of strong quarterly growth in paid streaming subscribers and a solid earnings beat overnight, while Rubbermaid owner Newell Brands posted an earnings beat ahead of the bell but issued some below-consensus guidance.

On the macro front, a preliminary reading of the University of Michigan's February consumer sentiment index saw it fall to 76.2 from 79 last month, confounding estimates for a modest improvement to 80.9 to print at a six-month low.

Still to come, Federal Reserve Bank of New York president John Williams will deliver a speech shortly, while the US government's 2022 budget plan will be released at 1900 GMT.

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