MARKET SNAPSHOT: Stock Futures Rise As Traders Shrug Off Government Shutdown Fears

By FeaturesDow Jones Newswires

IBM shares decline premarket

Wall Street was poised for a highflying end to the week, with stock futures tilting up as equity traders for now shrugged off concerns over a possible government shutdown.

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What are stock futures doing?

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 96 points, or 0.4%, to 26,035, while those for the S&P 500 index climbed 9.05 points, or 0.3%, to 2,805.25. Futures for the Nasdaq-100 Index gained 35 points, or 0.5%, to 6,848, led by a 1.8% premarket advance for NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) .

The indicated gains on Friday come after U.S. stocks ended lower on Thursday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-looks-likely-to-cling-to-26000-threshold-but-bulls-take-a-breather-2018-01-18), falling from all-time closing highs hit on Wednesday. The Dow average ended 0.4% lower on Thursday, while the S&P 500 index fell 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.03%.

For the week, the Dow is poised to gain 0.8%, while the S&P 500 is set to rise 0.4% and the Nasdaq 0.5%, with Friday's session to go.

What is driving the markets?

Unwilling to give up on the current bull market, investors on Friday ignored the threat of a government shutdown over the weekend.

The House on Thursday passed a one-month spending bill (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/republicans-appear-to-have-house-votes-for-funding-bill-but-shutdown-still-looms-2018-01-18) that would keep the government funded through Feb. 16, but the stopgap measure currently doesn't have enough support to clear the Senate. The current interim funding bill that was passed in December expires at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time, on Saturday.

The Senate adjourned without a final vote late on Thursday and will reconvene at 11 a.m. Eastern Time on Friday.

Read:Here's how stocks handled past government shutdowns (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-how-the-stock-market-has-handled-past-government-shutdowns-2018-01-16)

Even with the uncertain political backdrop, stocks have been able to continue their march higher in 2018. The S&P is up 4.7% year-to-date, while the other major benchmarks have jumped more than 5%. The solid start to the new year comes on signs economic growth remains strong and corporate earnings are picking up.

Read: Why ditching stocks in this bull market is a 'dangerous' move (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dont-ditch-the-bull-market-its-dangerous-to-be-out-of-stocks-top-uk-fund-manager-says-2018-01-16)

What are other markets doing?

Dollar investors, however, were more spooked by the shutdown uncertainty on Friday. The ICE U.S. Dollar index was down 0.3% at 90.250 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dollar-slides-back-to-3-year-low-on-fears-of-government-shutdown-2018-01-19), trading at a three-year low.

Oil prices also slumped (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-sink-1-head-for-biggest-weekly-loss-since-oct-2018-01-19), staying lower after the International Energy Agency said shale producers would help drive U.S. production to levels not seen since the 1970s.

Gold prices (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-bounces-back-as-dollar-falls-on-us-shutdown-concerns-2018-01-19)(GCG.T) rose, getting a boost from the weaker dollar.

Asian stock markets closed mainly higher (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-markets-start-off-quiet-with-investors-eyes-on-us-shutdown-2018-01-18), inspiring an upbeat session in Europe as well.

What are strategists saying?

"The government shutdown per se may not have much economic impact on the U.S. economy, but the specter of uncertainty that it could spread through the general economy could dent investor sentiment especially if the drama in DC turns into a protracted battle of the wills," said Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX strategy, in a note.

Which stocks are in focus?

Shares of International Business Machines Corp.(IBM) dropped 3% premarket after the tech company late Thursday reported a fourth-quarter loss (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ibm-shares-fall-despite-first-revenue-growth-in-5-years-2018-01-18) due to a $5.5 billion one-off charge from the recently-passed tax legislation.

American Express Co.(AXP) could also be active in Friday morning trade. The credit card company late Thursday recorded its first quarterly loss (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/amex-reports-first-loss-since-1992-due-to-tax-hit-2018-01-18) in over a quarter-century and said it would suspend its share buy backs in response to a hit from the tax reform.

Ahead of the open on Friday, SunTrust Banks Inc.(STI) and Citizens Financial Group Inc.(CFG) are slated to report earnings, while Schlumberger Ltd.(SLB) is on the docket after hours.

What's on the economic calendar?

At 10 a.m., Eastern consumer sentiment for January is slated for release.

Atlanta Federal Reserve President Raphael Bostic will appear in a moderated discussion about the economy at the Nashville regional Fed branch at 8:15 a.m. Eastern

Federal Reserve Vice Chair Randall Quarles will speak on bank regulation to the American Bar Association in Washington at 1 p.m. Eastern time.

See:MarketWatch's economic calendar (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 19, 2018 06:09 ET (11:09 GMT)

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