Stock futures trade higher on economic rebound optimism

Investors will be watching for the latest income & spending numbers, along with consumer sentiment

U.S. equity futures traded higher to end the week on investor optimism about an economic rebound.

The major futures indexes suggested a gain of 0.3% when the trading session opens on Wall Street.

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Hopes that economies will regain ground lost since last year's first outbreaks of coronavirus -- thanks to COVID-19 vaccinations and huge amounts of government aid -- have helped support stocks.

The U.S. government reported the number of workers filing for unemployment benefits fell last week to its lowest level since before the pandemic, helping to boost sentiment.

In addition, the U.S. economy grew at a faster pace at the end of 2020 than earlier estimated.

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On Friday morning, the Commerce Department will report personal income and spending for February. Economists surveyed by Refinitiv anticipate spending to slip 0.7% month-over-month after a 2.4% surge in January. Personal income, meantime, is expected to decline 7.3% after a 10% spike the prior month.

The University of Michigan’s final index of consumer sentiment for March will be released. It’s expected to edge higher to 83.6 from the preliminary reading of 83.0 two weeks ago, and up from February’s final reading 76.8, according to economists surveyed by Refinitiv:

In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index surged 1.6%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong picked up 1.6% and China's Shanghai Composite index climbed 1.6%.

In Europe, London's FTSE added 0.6%, Germany's DAX gained 0.6% and France's CAC rose 0.2%.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 34200.67 +164.68 +0.48%
SP500 S&P 500 4185.47 +15.05 +0.36%
I:COMP n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 rose 0.5% to 3,909.52 after having been down 0.9% in the early going. But it was still on track for a loss for the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.6% to 32,619.48. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite recovered from early losses to edged 0.1% higher, to 12,977.68.

The 10-year Treasury yield, which helps set rates for all kinds of loans, was at 1.66%. Treasury yields have been broadly rising with expectations for stronger economic growth and the inflation that may accompany it.

SUEZ CANAL GOODS DELAYS COULD WORSEN IF SHIP IS NOT FREED SOON

The price of oil was trading more than 2% higher as Egypt's Suez Canal remained blocked by a cargo ship, elevating trade concerns.

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U.S. benchmark crude oil gained $1.24 to $59.75 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It sank $2.62 on Thursday to $58.56 per barrel.

Brent crude, the standard for international pricing, picked up $1.10 to $63.05 per barrel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.