Wall St. to Open Higher With Dow 20,000 Within Reach

Markets Reuters

U.S. stocks looked set for a higher open on Wednesday, with the Dow set to take a shot at 20,000, following a raft of strong quarterly earnings and optimism around President Donald Trump's pro-growth policies.

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The Trump rally, which had driven Wall Street to a series of record highs since November, had been sputtering in recent weeks as investors sought clarity on his growth initiatives.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite closed at record levels on Tuesday as the post-election rally roared back to life after Trump signed executive orders to move forward with the construction of two oil pipelines.

He also pushed chief executives of the Big Three U.S. automakers to create jobs by building more plants in the United States. Shares of Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler rose in premarket trading.

"You are seeing futures continue from yesterday's euphoria as more money gets put to work," said Drew Forman, co-head of sales and trading equity at Macro Risk Advisors in New York.

The dollar dropped to a near seven-week low on Wednesday of 99.84 as concerns about Trump's protectionism stance on trade lingered.

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Dow e-minis were up 77 points, or 0.39 percent at 8:19 a.m. ET (1319 GMT), with 24,697 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 8.25 points, or 0.36 percent, with 118,032 contracts traded. The index hit a record high earlier in the day.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 24.75 points, or 0.49 percent, on volume of 24,262 contracts.

A largely positive fourth-quarter earnings season also boosted investor confidence. Of the 79 S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings so far, nearly 70 percent have beaten expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Gains in Boeing could provide the Dow an impetus to breach the 20,000, after coming within 90 points of the milestone a day earlier.

Boeing's stock was up 1.11 percent premarket after the company said it expected to deliver more commercial aircrafts this year than in 2016.

Seagate shares surged 12.8 percent to $42.30 after the hard-disk drive maker forecast current-quarter revenue above estimates, buoyed by strong demand for its cloud-based storage products.

Aluminum producer Alcoa rose 2.03 percent to $38.26 after reporting a better-than-expected first quarter revenue.

AT&T and Qualcomm are scheduled to report results after market close.

No key economic data is expected on Wednesday. Federal Reserve officials are in a self-imposed blackout period ahead of a policy-setting meeting next week.

 

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)