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US stocks find their footing Friday sending markets higher

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12:05pm: Markets hold in the green at midday

After a volatile week that saw the S&P 500 drop to a 30-day low, US markets are on track to end the week on the positive side.

Midday saw the S&P 500 climb to 4,431 up 26 points from the morning bell. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was also in the green adding 203 points to sit in the 35,097 range. The NASDAQ was also on the move up 100 points to 14,642 over the lunch hour.

As the week draws to a close, attention now shifts to the upcoming gathering of policymakers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming,  with Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s speech a key highlight. The economy and its post-pandemic recovery is sure to be the main topic of focus as will the winding down of stimulus programs.

“Next week of course sees the Jackson Hole meeting but at this point it feels like we are merely debating the details of tapering, rather than the existence of a taper,” Chris Beauchamp, Chief Market Analyst at IG wrote in a Friday morning note.

“In any case, such widely-anticipated market events rarely turn out to be the fireworks that many had expected. Traders hoping that Jackson Hole and the end of the summer lull will combine to kick off some heavy volatility could well be disappointed.”

Beauchamp went on to say: “Today’s price action shows that the urge to buy weakness remains, a strong force that has so far prevented any major selloff this year.”

10.15am: Proactive North America headlines:

NEO Battery Materials Ltd sends first silicon anode prototype samples for battery cell evaluation and characterization

VanadiumCorp Resource files year-end financial statements, highlighting significant reduction in its net loss for 2020

Loncor Gold Inc says deepest hole drilled at Adumbi deposit intersects ‘wide zones’ of gold mineralization

Heritage Cannabis Holdings Corp reports record monthly sales of $3.2M for July

Spotlite360 Technologies (CSE:LITE) Inc announces name change to SpotLite IOT Solutions Inc

9.50am: US indices open a shade higher

The main US indices opened virtually unchanged on Friday then moved a shade higher but are on track to finish down on the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up around 60 points to the good at 34,957 shortly after the New York bell.

The S&P 500 gained around seven points at 4,413. The technology-laden Nasdaq index was up around 42 points at 14,584.

Investor sentiment wasd lifted somewhat at the open by comments from Dallas Federal Reserve president  Robert Kaplan,  who suggested he would reconsider his calls for a quick tapering of the central bank’s asset-buying program if the coronavirus pandemic begins to affect economic outlook.

Fears have been heightened this week after the US central bank made comments, recorded in the minutes for last month’s meeting that suggested the easing of stimulus measures could begin sooner than had been thought.

7.20am: US futures trade lower on Friday

US stocks are seen starting lower on Friday as traders continue to weigh up issues including the tapering of the Fed’s stimulus measures, coronavirus (COVID-19) fears, and China’s data crackdown.

Today there is no economic data due for release or many news releases so the market focus is still on events this week.

In futures trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 148 points; the S&P 500 is off 19 points, while the Nasdaq futures are trading 41 points lower.

It comes after benchmarks closed mixed on Wall Street on Thursday with the DJIA falling 68 points, or 0.19%, to 34,894 for its third-straight session. But the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq managed to close in positive territory, rising 0.13% to 4,405 and 0.11% to 14,541 respectively.

On Friday, China passed a major data protection law concerning how companies collect and handle user information, which could affect the way China’s technology giants operate. adding to worries about the country’s economic slowdown.

Next week sees the start of then Jackson Hole symposium in Wyoming, with Chairman Jerome Powell likely to provide more clues on the US Central Bank’s thinking on the economy and its stance on tapering.

Five other things to watch on Friday:

Analysts expect Foot Locker to have earned $1 per share on revenue of $2.09 billion in its latest quarter when it releases earnings before the New York bell.

Crude prices are falling Friday after US natural-gas supplies rose 46 billion cubic feet last week, the Energy Information Administration said yesterday. The closely-watched Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release later today.

Following Tesla’s AI day on Thursday, Elon Musk announced he may launch a humanoid robot prototype in 2022, called the ‘Tesla Bot’, which is designed to do “boring, repetitious and dangerous” work. The billionaire said the robot could have “profound implications for the economy”.

Agricultural machinery giant Deere, reporting today, is estimated to report quarterly earnings at $4.57 per share on revenue of $10.30 billion.

Spotify Technology SA (NYSE:SPOT) has announced the board’s approval to buy back shares up to $1 billion. The company will reportedly begin the share repurchases from the third quarter of 2021.

Story by ProactiveInvestors


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