Futures climb on optimism over swift recovery

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures rose about 1% on Friday as investors wagered on a bounce back in post-pandemic economic activity, shrugging off the daily increase in new coronavirus infections in several states.

Oil major Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) rose 1.7% in premarket trading and Chevron Corp (CVX.N) gained 0.4% as Brent crude LCOc1 rose above $42 a barrel amid signs of gradual recovery in demand and oil producers’ promise to meet supply cuts. [O/R]

California, Florida and North Carolina urged mandatory mask use on Thursday as at least six states set daily records for new coronavirus cases. Mainland China also reported 32 new cases of infections, an uptick from a day earlier.

Risk of a resurgence of the virus outbreak has led to choppy trading sessions this week, but the three main stock indexes are set to wrap up the week higher after a strong retail sales report for May and signs of additional official stimulus.

The S&P 500 .SPX ended marginally higher on Thursday with the tech-heavy Nasdaq .IXIC notching its sixteenth rise in the past 19 sessions.

The benchmark S&P 500 and the blue-chip Dow .DJI are now about 8% and 12% below their respective record closing highs hit in February, while the Nasdaq is about 0.5% below its all-time closing high on June 10.

Markets are likely to become more volatile during Friday’s session on account of “quadruple witching,” as investors unwind interests in futures and options contracts prior to expiration.

At 6:29 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were up 240 points, or 0.92%. S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up 24.75 points, or 0.80% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 78.25 points, or 0.78%.

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc (AMC.N) jumped 7.6% on plans to reopen theaters at about 450 locations in the United States next month and the company expects returning to full-seating capacity around Thanksgiving.

Later in the day, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will participate in a video conference where he will talk about ways regions and cities across the country can help their workforces better withstand and recover from shocks related to the pandemic.

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