Stock futures climb ahead of Amazon, Alphabet earnings; stimulus in focus

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures rose about 1% on Tuesday, building on the previous session’s momentum, as investors anticipated strong results from Amazon and Google-parent Alphabet while also looking for signs of progress on a pandemic-relief package.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, (NYSE) in New York, NY, U.S., April 30, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan Mcdermid/File Photo

Alphabet, which will report the cost and operating profit of its Google Cloud business for the first time, added 1.3% premarket, while retail behemoth Amazon.com Inc gained 1.2%.

Both the companies, set to report their fourth-quarter earnings after market close, have jumped more than 7% each after strong earnings from rest of the FAANG group last month.

About 84% of the 186 S&P 500 firms that have reported so far have topped estimates for earnings, well above the 75.5% beat rate for the past four quarters, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Investors are gauging outlooks from big corporations to justify elevated stock market valuations, at a time when concerns over a raging pandemic and new coronavirus variants have triggered fears of a short-term pullback in markets.

At 06:30 a.m. ET, Dow E-minis were up 247 points, or 0.82%, and S&P 500 E-minis were up 32.5 points, or 0.86%. Nasdaq 100 E-minis were up 109.75 points, or 0.84%.

Investors also kept a close watch on progress in U.S. stimulus talks. After meeting with Republican senators at the White House on Monday, President Joe Biden appeared poised to push forward with his proposed $1.9 trillion relief plan even if it fails to draw Republican support.

Wall Street’s fear gauge retreated to near one-week lows as a retail-driven mania for shorted assets showed signs of fizzling out.

The so-called “meme” stocks GameStop Corp, AMC Entertainment and Nokia tumbled between 23% and 30%, while miners Hecla Mining Co and Coeur Mining Inc tracked a fall in spot silver prices.

Ford Motor Co added 2% after the U.S. automaker said it will invest $1.05 billion in its South African manufacturing operations, including upgrades to expand production of its Ranger pickup truck.

Shares of Exxon Mobil rose 1.5% ahead of its results scheduled before the bell, which are expected to be marred by a charge of up to $20 billion on the value of its natural gas properties.

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