Market Snapshot: U.S. stocks set for fresh records at the open with Dow plowing further above 20K

The momentum for U.S. stocks continued on Thursday, with stock futures pointing to fresh records at the open for all three major benchmarks ahead of a spate of earnings and economic reports, including jobless claims and home sales.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMH7, +0.15%  gained 46 points, or 0.2%, to 20,049, indicating a second straight day of opening above the psychologically important 20,000 handle. The benchmark DJIA, +0.78%  on Wednesday reached the milestone for the first time ever, closing up 155.80 points to 20,068.51 over optimism over President Donald Trump’s policies and a solid round of corporate earnings.

Read: President Trump cheers Dow 20,000 as only he can

The S&P 500 index SPX, +0.80%  and Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.99%  also closed at all time highs on Wednesday and futures pointed to further gains on Thursday. Futures for the S&P 500 ESH7, +0.04%  gained 2.60 points, or 0.1%, to 2,296.50, while those for the Nasdaq-100 NQH7, +0.19%  added 14.50 points, or 0.3%, to 5,161.

“This triple record for the three main U.S. bourses can be attributed to financial strength on hopes that the new president will soon set his sights on industry deregulation coupled with fresh strength in materials as he pledges to build that wall,” analysts at Accendo Markets said in a note.

Trump’s border wall order shakes up U.S.-Mexico relations

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday calling for a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico, the same day Mexican officials met with members of Trump’s inner circle. Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto released a video saying Mexico would not pay for any wall. Photo: Getty

President Trump on Wednesday issued an executive order to build a border wall with Mexico, saying construction could start within months.

Economic news: On Thursday, attention turns to a deluge of economic data. First up is weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, forecast to show 250,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, up from 234,000 the previous week.

At the same time, goods trade data for December comes out, along with the Chicago Fed national activity index for the same month.

At 9:45 a.m., the flash Markit services purchasing managers index for January is due, followed by leading economic indicators and new home sales for December at 10 a.m.

Economics polled by MarketWatch expect homes sales at 595,000, up slightly from 592,000 in November.

There were no Federal Reserve speakers on tap as the central bank is in its so-called blackout period ahead of its policy-setting meeting on Jan. 31-Feb. 1.

Read: Dow hitting 20,000 is a reminder that it’s the best active fund ever fashioned

Earnings: Shares of eBay Inc. EBAY, +0.80%  jumped 7.4% in premarket action after the e-commerce company late Wednesday reported solid earnings from its holiday quarter.

AT&T Inc. T, +0.07%  rose 1.1% ahead of the bell after the telecommunications company late Wednesday posted earnings in line with forecasts.

On a more downbeat note, Qualcomm Inc. QCOM, +3.45%  fell 3.3% after the chip maker late Wednesday issued a weak second-quarter outlook amid ongoing legal and regulatory challenges.

U.S.-listed shares of Diageo PLC DEO, -0.65%  climbed 4.9% after the maker of Johnnie Walker whiskey and Smirnoff vodka said half-year profit rose to £1.51 billion ($ 1.9 billion).

Ahead of Thursday’s open, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV FCAU, +0.92%  , Comcast Corp. CMCSA, -0.22%  , Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. BMY, +1.21%  , Ford Motor Co. F, +1.43%  , Biogen Inc. BIIB, -0.21%  , Caterpillar Inc. CAT, +1.98%  and JetBlue Airways Corp. JBLU, +1.63% are slated to report.

And after the closing bell, Google-parent Alphabet Inc. GOOG, +1.43% GOOGL, +1.05%  , Intel Corp. INTC, +0.48%  , Starbucks Corp. SBUX, +0.44%  and Microsoft Corp. MSFT, +0.25% are expected to release results.  

Other movers and shakers: Shares of Johnson & Johnson JNJ, +0.93%  rose 1.1% ahead of the open after the drugmaker agreed to buy Actelion Pharmaceuticals Ltd. ATLN, +20.01%  , Europe’s biggest biotech company, for $ 30 billion. Actelion shares jumped 20% in Zurich.

Other markets: Major Asian stock markets closed higher across the board, boosted by optimism over the Dow average reaching 20,000.

Markets in Europe were also rising, setting the Stoxx Europe 600 index SXXP, +0.42%  on track for its highest close since December 2015.

Read: From unloved to favorite: Why European bank earnings are set to cheer investors

Oil prices CLH7, +0.32% LCOH7, +0.51%  rose, while a stronger dollar DXY, +0.30%  added pressure on gold GCF7, -0.05%  .

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MarketWatch.com – Financial Services Industry News

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