U.S. stock futures edged higher in early morning trading on Thursday after the major averages hit record highs on Inauguration Day.
Dow Jones Industrial average futures rose 51 points, or 0.2%. S&P 500 futures gained 0.2% and Nasdaq- 100 futures climbed 0.4%.
President Joe Biden released details of his Covid plan on Thursday, announcing 10 executive orders that would ramp up testing, accelerate the pace of vaccinations, provide more funding to local officials and use the Defense Production Act to make more masks and equipment.
U.S. equities rose to record highs on Wednesday as the latest batch of strong corporate earnings rolled in and as Biden was sworn in, ushering in hope that the vaccine rollout would improve.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 250 points to close at a record. Microsoft had the most positive impact on the Dow, adding 52 points to the index. The S&P 500 climbed 1.4%, notching an all-time high. The Nasdaq Composite surged nearly 2%, closing at a record. The technology-heavy index was helped by a 16% jump in Netflix‘s stock on the back of the streaming giants’ strong earnings and subscriber results. The small-cap benchmark Russell 2000 gained 0.44%.
Futures’ gains were muted however on Thursday.
Major U.S. airline United dipped more than 2% in premarket trading after missing on the top and bottom lines of its quarterly earnings released Wednesday night. The airline warned sales would continue to suffer in the early part of 2021 as the coronavirus pandemic drags on.
And key economic data was due at 8:30 a.m. ET. when the Labor Department will release last week’s jobless claims. Economists polled by Dow Jones expect 925,000 Americans filed for unemployment last week, down from the previous week’s 965,000.
Biden was sworn in as the 46th U.S. president on Wednesday, succeeding former President Donald Trump. During an inaugural address in which he called on Americans to reject efforts to sow division and pledged to work for the voters who did not support him, Biden declared, “Democracy has prevailed.”
Along with the Covid response plan released Thursday, investors are also watching eagerly if Biden can get his proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill through Congress.
Wednesday “might have less to do with the inauguration than it does with the start of a new earnings season and with investors taking advantage of recent performance to lighten up on winners in favor of adding some out of favor new era stocks which may be leading a good earnings quarter,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group.
“Perhaps, it simply reflects a globally synchronized economic recovery boosted by unprecedented stimulus and the nearing of vaccinations. With a backdrop like that, it can go up regardless of who’s President,” Paulsen added.