Stock futures rise as market tries to end holiday week on a high note

U.S. stock futures rose in early trading Thursday ahead of the final trading day of the holiday-shortened week.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average pointed to an opening gain of about 75 points. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures were also trading in positive territory.

The market will close early at 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, and will be closed on Friday in observance of Christmas. Trading is expected to be thin on Christmas Eve.

The Dow and the S&P 500 have registered small losses this week so far amid profit-taking action into the year-end. Policy uncertainty also damped investor spirits in the holiday week. President Donald Trump slammed Congress’ $900 billion Covid relief package an unsuitable “disgrace.” The president took particular issue with the direct payments, which he said should be lifted from $600 to $2,000.

Democrats will attempt to pass $2,000 direct payments on Thursday, but Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., will object, CNBC reported. Meanwhile, McCarthy plans to offer a new temporary spending bill separating State Department and foreign aid funding from the broader spending package — a plan Democrats would likely oppose.

The Nasdaq is on track to end the week higher, after hitting an intraday high in the previous session. The Russell 2,000, which also reached a record high on Wednesday, is also headed for a winning week. Amid strength in small-cap names, the index is on track for its eighth straight week of gains — the longest weekly winning streak since Feb. 2019.

“Markets don’t care too much about Trump’s criticism of the stimulus bill as a formal veto is considered unlikely, [and] the joint stimulus/budget legislation passed both the House and Senate with veto-proof majorities,” Adam Crisafulli of Vital Knowledge said in a note. “Even if Trump were to successfully veto the measure, Biden will be president in only 27 days and can sign it then.”

Investors also closely monitored the progress on the vaccine rollout. The CDC said just over 1 million shots had been administered as of Wednesday, roughly 19 million doses shy of earlier projections from public health officials for December.

With just five trading days left in the year, the Nasdaq is on pace to be the clear winner, currently up around 42%. The Russell 2,000 is up 20% for the year, while the Dow and S&P 500 are up 5.6% and 14.2%, respectively.

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Source: CNBC