S&P 500, Nasdaq hit file highs on financial progress and labor restoration

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York

By Medha Singh and Devik Jain

(Reuters) – Die and Nasdaq were well on their way to opening at record highs on Friday as signs of progress towards more economic stimulus began to appear, while a closely watched job report confirmed that the labor market was stabilizing.

Still, US employment growth recovered less-than-expected in January and job losses in December were lower than originally anticipated, strengthening the case for additional bailout funds to aid recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Joe Biden’s drive to pass a $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill gained momentum early Friday as the U.S. Senate narrowly approved a budget that would see the bill passed in the weeks ahead with or made possible without Republican support.

“In this Goldilocks scenario, the market has priced in that we can get past COVID and everyone will get back to normal,” said Dennis Dick, proprietary dealer at Bright Trading LLC in Las Vegas.

“It’s all about how quickly that recovery comes.”

Economic talks, positive earnings, and advances in vaccine adoption have bolstered bets on a quick economic recovery, putting the S&P 500 and Nasdaq on track since the US elections in early November.

A retail frenzy also appeared to be easing after the bullish markets last week. Video game retailer GameStop Corp. (NYSE 🙂 ‘s stocks, which lost more than 80% of their value this week, rose 8% to $ 58 in premarket trading.

Stronger-than-expected company results in the fourth quarter have pushed analyst expectations higher, and the S&P 500 companies are now on track to deliver earnings growth for the quarter rather than declining as originally expected.

At 8:35 a.m. EST, the Dow E-Minis were up 121 points, or 0.39%, and the S&P 500 E-Minis were up 15.5 points, or 0.4%. E-minis rose 44.5 points, or 0.33%.

Futures, which track the domestically focused futures, gained 0.7%.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE 🙂 rose 2% after the drug maker asked U.S. health officials to approve its emergency COVID-19 single-dose vaccine and it would go into effect with European authorities in the coming weeks.

Clover Health Investments Corp, backed by Chamath Palihapitiya, announced that it had received a letter from the US Securities and Exchange Commission after a critical report by well-known short seller Hindenburg Research.

Clover’s shares rose 3.4% after falling 12% on Thursday.

Pinterest (NYSE 🙂 Inc rose 10% after the image sharing company reported better-than-expected quarterly results.

Snapchat owner Snap Inc. (NYSE 🙂 fell about 7.5% after warnings that upcoming privacy changes from Apple Inc (NASDAQ 🙂 could affect advertising business.

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