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Wall Street to start mostly higher as traders shrug off Capitol insurrection

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US investors appear to be prepared to shrug off last night’s scenes of insurrection and Washington DC and keep the bull market gong.

Spread betting quotes suggest that while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite is set to open 21 points lower at 12,719, the other two main stock indices are expected to open higher.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is seen rising 89 points to 30,918 while the S&P 500 is expected to open 16 points to the good at 3,764.

While last night’s violent scenes are obviously disconcerting, they could not stop ratification of the Georgia run-off elections, the results of which give the Democrats control of the Senate through the vice-president’s casting vote.

“With the Democrats now set to control Congress when Joe Biden officially becomes President in a few weeks’ time, the market is now recalibrating the scenario where the future leader has a greater chance of pushing through his policies and thus what the consequences would be on asset classes, economic growth, monetary policy and so on. Previously the market seemed to be content with a situation of government gridlock,” suggested Russ Mould, the investment director at AJ Bell.

Neil Wilson at said investors are betting “more stimulus and fiscal expansion from a Democrat-controlled Congress will be the driving force for the upside to show more gains”.

“Any whispered concerns about higher taxes and more regulation are being shouted down by the prospect of more spending,” he added.

US broking giant Citi appears to be unconvinced that 2021 is set to be a banner year for equities, as it has forecast a meagre 2% increase in the MSCI All Countries World Index over the course of the year.

Market observers who can drag their attention away from events on Capitol Hill will be waiting for the ISM services index for December, which Daiwa Capital Markets said will cast further light on how the economy closed out last year.

“In particular, following yesterday’s soft ADP reading, the employment component will allow analysts to refine their expectations for tomorrow’s official employment report,” Daiwa said.

Economists are expecting a reading of 54.5m down from 55.9 previously.

Ahead of the non-farm payrolls figure tomorrow for December, the weekly jobless figures are due out, with the number of initial jobless claims expected to have risen to around 802,500 from 787,000 the week before.

Five things to watch for on Thursday:

  • The earnings diary includes first quarter figures from pharmacy giant Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQ:WBA), as well as third quarter numbers from the maker of Corona beer Constellation Brands Inc (NYSE:STZ)
  • Also in the diary is computer memory maker Micron Technology Inc (NASDAQ:MU), which will report first quarter earnings, and second quarter numbers from Chef Boyardee and Slim Jim maker ConAgra Brands Inc (NYSE:CAG)
  • On the macro front, investors will be eyeing US jobless claims figures for the week to December 26 as well as trade deficit data for November
  • Shares in retailer Bed Bath & Beyond Inc (NASDAQ:BBBY) may also be in focus after it reported weaker than expected profits for its third quarter as the pandemic weighed on sales
  • Bitcoin may also hit the headlines again after the cryptocurrency surged to fresh highs of just under US$38,000 on Thursday morning amid the fallout from the mob attack on the US Capitol building on Wednesday

Story by ProactiveInvestors


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