Stock futures held steady in early morning trade on Wednesday as investors waited for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were just 3 points higher. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures also traded in mildly positive territory.
Netflix soared more than 12% in extended trading after the company reported strong subscriber growth and said it’s considering share buybacks. Netflix handily beat estimates for global paid net subscriber additions, reporting 8.5 million versus the 6.47 million analysts anticipated.
Biden will succeed President Donald Trump as the 46th president of the United States shortly after noon ET. His inauguration speech will focus on the need to bring the country together on the heels of a violent riot on Capitol Hill and amid extreme partisanship in Congress.
Investors will also be on the lookout for any further information about Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief plan unveiled last week. On Tuesday, Janet Yellen, Biden’s designated nominee for Treasury Secretary, endorsed higher aid spending and urged lawmakers to “act big.”
“Everything else could take a back seat to events in Washington as investors look ahead to big changes in policy and outlook from a new administration,” TD Ameritrade’s chief market strategist JJ Kinahan said.
Wall Street started the week with modest gains. The Dow rose more than 100 points on Tuesday, while the S&P 500 gained 0.8%, snapping a two-day losing streak. The Nasdaq Composite rallied 1.5% as big technology stocks rebounded from last week’s sharp losses.
Biden’s stimulus proposal calls for direct payments of $1,400 to most Americans as well as additional unemployment benefit as well as state and local government aid. He also announced a sweeping plan to combat the pandemic in the U.S., which includes a nationwide vaccine campaign.
The U.S. has fallen far short of its goal of vaccinating 20 million people by the end of last year. While the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed has delivered over 31.1 million doses across the country, only 12.3 million people have been inoculated.
“I believe there is a very bright light at the end of the tunnel. We just need to make it through the next few months,” Invesco Chief Global Market Strategist Kristina Hooper said. “I expect markets to continue to move in expectations of a robust recovery later in 2021 when vaccines are broadly distributed.”
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