Wall Street was set to rise on Thursday at the end of a bruising month on upbeat economic growth data, while investors focused on funding negotiations in Washington to prevent a government shutdown.
A report from the Commerce Department revised second-quarter growth to be slightly higher, indicating that the economy remained resilient through a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.
All the three major indexes were set for a monthly drop, with the benchmark S&P 500 on track to snap its seven-month winning streak as worries about persistent inflation, the fallout from China Evergrande’s potential default and political wrangling over the debt ceiling rattled sentiment.
Meanwhile, data from the labor department showed weekly jobless claims rose more than expected, indicating that the job market remained under pressure.
“It was pretty much a normal September as we get very few earnings reports and when there’s no earnings support, the market is dominated by macro factors which usually are on the negative sides,” said Jay Hatfield, chief executive of Infrastructure Capital Management in New York.
Still, the index was on course for its sixth straight quarterly gain, albeit its smallest, since March 2020’s drop.
President Joe Biden’s agenda was at risk of being derailed by divisions among his own Democrats, as moderates voiced anger on Wednesday at the idea of delaying a $1 trillion infrastructure bill ahead of a critical vote to avert a government shutdown.
Big banks JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM), Citigroup (NYSE:C) Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE:GS) gained 0.5% each in premarket trade, taking support from a recent spike in Treasury yields.
Heavyweight tech stocks also edged higher, recovering from steep losses suffered earlier this week.
Still, excluding Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), the rate-sensitive FAANG stocks have lost about $415 billion in value this month after the Federal Reserve’s hawkish shift on monetary policy sparked a rally in Treasury yields and prompted investors to move into energy, banks and small-cap sectors that stand to benefit the most from an economic revival.
Netflix is set to add about 5.3% in September.
The S&P financials sector is set to rise for the sixth straight quarter, while energy headed for its best monthly performance since February.
“While Fed officials seem more hawkish when it comes to interest rate hikes, a gradual movement to normalized rates would neither be bad for the economy nor the market,” said Tom Mantione, managing director, UBS Private Wealth Management, in Stamford, Connecticut.
At 8:37 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 119 points, or 0.35%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 16 points, or 0.37%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 72.25 points, or 0.49%.
Perrigo Co (NYSE:PRGO) jumped 14.5% after the drugmaker agreed to settle with Irish tax authorities over a 2018 issue by paying $1.90 billion in taxes.