Dow futures jump 170 points as stocks head for a winning week

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Stock futures climbed on Friday and markets headed for a winning week, amid growing optimism over the U.S. economic recovery following strong labor market data.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 168 points, or 0.5%. The move pointed to an opening gain of about 185 points. S&P 500 futures rose 0.4% and Nasdaq-100 futures added 0.3%.

The S&P 500 is up 1.08% week to date and sits less than 1% from a record. The blue-chip Dow is 0.75% higher over the same time period, while the Nasdaq has gained nearly 2%.

Salesforce shares rose about 4% in premarket trading after the software company’s first-quarter earnings beat Wall Street expectations on its top and bottom lines. HP shares dropped 5% despite the company’s better-than-expected second-quarter results.

Ford was higher once again, up 1% in premarket trading Friday. The stock is up 11% this week so far after unveiling a new electric vehicle strategy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 141.59 points on Thursday, while the S&P 500 edged 0.1% higher. The Nasdaq Composite closed flat. The Dow’s gain came after first-time jobless claims fell to a new pandemic low of 406,000, according to Labor Department data.

“Two macro factors may be contributing to the increased confidence in the recovery today: signs of higher inflation and signs of better job placement,” Goldman Sachs managing director Chris Hussey said in a note.

More economic data is due at 8:30 am ET Friday. Personal Income and consumer spending will be released along with the PCE Core Price Index, closely watched by the Federal Reserve for signs of inflation. The PCE is expected to have increased 2.9% in April year-over-year, according to economists polled by Dow Jones.

Meme stocks fueled by traders in Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum surged on Thursday, with AMC shooting up as much as 47%. Shares of the movie-theater chain closed 35.6% higher while another meme stock, GameStop, gained 4.8%.

AMC was up another 10% in premarket trading Friday.

The moves higher this week come as investors monitor the back-and-forth in Washington over a comprehensive infrastructure package that could further boost the economic recovery. Senate Republicans unveiled a $928 billion infrastructure counteroffer to President Joe Biden on Thursday. However, that’s well below Biden’s most recent proposal of $1.7 trillion.

For the month of May, the S&P 500 is essentially flat, while the Dow is up 1.7%. The Nasdaq is off by about 1.6%.

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