MARKET SNAPSHOT: Dow On Track For 200-point Jump, Putting 26,000 Within Reach

By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

U.S. stock futures point to rally at open as traders return from holiday weekend

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U.S. stock futures on Tuesday pointed to a jump at the open, with Dow futures rising by more than 200 points and putting the blue-chip gauge on track for a fresh record near the 26,000 level.

Ahead of the opening bell, investors are slated to get earnings from banking heavyweight Citigroup Inc.(C) and insurer UnitedHealth Group Inc.(UNH) , as well as a fresh reading for the Empire State index.

What are the main benchmarks doing?

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed by 214 points, or 0.8%, to 26,015, while S&P 500 futures gained 9.80 points, or 0.4%, to 2,798.50. Nasdaq-100 futures jumped by 22 points, or 0.3%, to 6,797.25.

On Friday ahead of the three-day weekend, the Dow , S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite scored yet another round of all-time closing highs (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fresh-records-in-sight-for-us-stocks-as-earnings-inflation-data-loom-2018-01-12), with the blue-chip barometer ending at 25,803.19.

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Check out:This epic stock-market rally will get a second wind from stellar earnings (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-epic-stock-market-rally-will-get-a-second-wind-from-stellar-earnings-2018-01-13)

What is driving markets?

The three major equity benchmarks have risen between 22% and 30% over the past 12 months, helped by factors such as an expanding U.S. economy, growth in corporate profits and enthusiasm over the Trump administration's tax cuts and other business-friendly policies.

A fresh release on the U.S. economy's manufacturing sector is due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, with the January update for the Empire State index.

Check out:MarketWatch's Economic Calendar (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)

On the Federal Reserve front, no officials are slated to give speeches on Tuesday.

What are strategists saying?

The S&P 500 "has gained an impressive 4.2% in the new year as its uptrend has steepened," said Katie Stockton, BTIG's chief technical strategist, in a note.

"We are looking for a pullback in the 4%-5% range into February. This would be a welcome development, because it would alleviate the market of overly bullish sentiment without likely taking a toll on positive long-term momentum."

Which stocks are in focus?

Energy giant BP PLC(BP.LN) said Tuesday it expects it expects to book a $1.7 billion post-tax charge (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bp-to-book-17-billion-deepwater-horizon-charge-2018-01-16-34853027) in its fourth-quarter earnings for claims associated with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout..

Citigroup Inc.(C) and UnitedHealth Group Inc.(UNH) are expected to report earnings ahead of the bell.

Shares of Ford Motor Co. (F) could be in focus, after the auto maker teased an all-electric SUV (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ford-teases-all-electric-mach-1-suv-coming-in-2020-2018-01-14) -- the "Mach 1" -- on Sunday, saying it will spend $11 billion on electric cars through 2022. Ford made the announcement at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

What are other markets doing?

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index , which measures the buck against a basket of six rivals, was up 0.2% to 90.61, recovering somewhat from its recent fall.

The bitcoin spot price was down 13% to $11,865, touching a six-week low, as cryptocurrencies sold off.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 16, 2018 04:25 ET (09:25 GMT)