Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), July 21, 2021.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
U.S. stock futures rose on Monday as investors geared up for the first trading day of August.
Dow Jones Industrial average futures rose 166 points, or 0.5%. S&P 500 futures gained 0.6% and Nasdaq 100 futures added 0.6%. The S&P 500 and the Dow sit less than 1% from new all-time highs.
Stocks continued to shake off concerns about the delta variant of Covid, and stocks that would benefit the most from a continued economic recovery led the gains in premarket trading Monday.
Shares of Carnival Corp. were up 3% in premarket trading. Major banks including Morgan Stanley and Bank of America were higher. Airline shares were mostly higher.
“We believe the reopening and recovery trend is on track and continue to see upside for equities,” wrote Mark Haefele, chief investment officer of global wealth management at UBS. “We expect the S&P 500 to climb to around 4,650 by June next year, versus 4,395 at present. But we see the greatest upside for cyclical parts of the market, including energy, financials, and Japanese stocks.”
The Senate was finalizing the text of a bipartisan infrastructure bill, also bolstering optimism on Monday. The bill includes $550 billion in new spending over five years. That’s on top of previously approved funds of around $450 billion.
Caterpillar shares added 1% in premarket trading.
The major averages managed to notch their sixth month of gains in July, although volatility increased amid concerns about the economic recovery in the face of the spreading delta Covid variant. The Nasdaq Composite and Dow Jones Industrial Average added about 1.2% and 1.3%, respectively, in July, while the broad S&P 500 gained close to 2.3% last month.
The U.S. is averaging more than 72,000 new Covid cases a day the last 7 days, according to the latest CDC shows, levels not seen since February this year.
Concerns about inflation also plagued the market, however a key inflation indicator showed lesser-than-feared price pressures on Friday. The core personal consumption expenditures price index rose 3.5% in June year-over-year. It marked a sharp acceleration in inflation, but came in slightly below a Dow Jones forecast of a 3.6% jump.
Also on Friday, U.S. second-quarter gross domestic product accelerated 6.5% on an annualized basis, considerably less than the 8.4% rate of growth expected by economists polled by Dow Jones.
But an overall strong earnings season continues to be a tailwind for the market. So far, 88% of S&P 500 companies that have reported have topped EPS estimates, according to FactSet. For the second quarter, the S&P 500 is on track to post earnings growth of 85.1%, which would be the best growth rate since 2009, according to FactSet.
The first trading day of August comes with more big earnings on the way. Lyft, Amgen, Uber, CVS Health, General Motors, Roku and Square all report quarterly results this week.
Square shares sank in premarket trading after Jack Dorsey’s payment company announced a $29 billion all-stock deal to buy Australian installment loan provider Afterpay. Square was off by 3%.