Stock futures drifted in late trading after rallying during the regular session. The S&P 500 ended higher for a fourth straight session and came within striking distance of its recent record close.
With tech shares still at the forefront, the Nasdaq Composite powered to a record close by the closing bell on Wednesday. The S&P 500 ended within 1.8% of its record closing high from February 19 this year.
After market close Wednesday, a handful of smaller-cap tech companies report results that handily topped consensus estimates. Etsy (ETSY), which has benefited from an influx of consumers turning to online shopping, saw a 137% surge in in second-quarter revenue. Gross merchandise sales jumped 146%, and even in absence of face mask sales jumped 93% over last year.
Roku (ROKU) also posted estimates-topping top-line results, with sales up 42% as active customers climbed by nearly the same margin to 43 million. The second quarter was the company’s best ever for increases in active accounts outside of the holiday season, with streaming as a whole growing in popularity.
Notable companies set to report earnings results Thursday include Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) before market open, and Uber (UBER) and T-Mobile (TMUS) after market close.
On the economic data front, a key report set for release Thursday morning will be the Labor Department’s report on initial unemployment insurance claims, which will set the stage for the government’s official July jobs report on Friday.
The number of new claims for the week ended August 1 is expected to have improved just marginally to 1.4 million, from the 1.434 million during the prior week, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to weigh on the pace of recovery in the labor market. The print also follows a sharp miss in ADP’s National Employment Report on Wednesday, which showed that private employers added back just 167,000 jobs in July, where 1.2 million had been expected.
The deteriorating picture of economic improvement in the US, especially in the labor market, has added urgency for Congress to convene on a new stimulus bill to support those affected by widespread virus-related joblessness. Discussions are set to continue in Washington, though lawmakers on both sides of the aisle appear locked in a stalemate on key issues.
“Fiscal stimulus that supported the economy during the first half of the year is wearing off and it’s unclear whether Congress will be able to provide more fiscal support, but for now markets continue to price that another stimulus package is a done deal,” Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist for Allianz Investment Management, said in an email Wednesday.
6:09 p.m. ET Wednesday: Stock futures steady in late trading
Here were the main moves in equity markets, as of 6:09 p.m. ET:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,316.5, up 0.5 points, or 0.02%
Dow futures (YM=F): 27,052.00, down 3 points, or 0.01%
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 11,088.00, down 3.75 points, or 0.03%