Stock futures point to record highs with economic data, Fed speeches on deck

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Strategic Wealth Partners President and CEO Mark Tepper and former Trump economic adviser Steve Moore discuss how the markets will react to a Fed rate hike and tapering

U.S. stock futures pointed to record highs at Thursday’s opening bell as traders await key economic data and further commentary from the Federal Reserve. 

Dow futures traded up 173 points, or 0.51%, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 0.47% and 0.56%, respectively. Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite are on track to open at all-time highs. 

The early gains come ahead of the 8:30 a.m. ET release of weekly jobless claims, durable goods orders and the third estimate of first-quarter gross domestic product. Investors will also take in further commentary from three Fed presidents as they try to assess whether the recent surge in inflation is transitory. 

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The U.S. 10-year yield was unchanged at 1.49% ahead of the data and Fed speak. 

In stocks, growth continues to lead the market higher as shares of companies like Tesla Inc., Apple Inc. and Square Inc. were set to open higher. 

Microsoft Corp. will on Thursday unveil its first new Windows operating system since 2015. The company continues to flirt with a $2 trillion market capitalization and will need shares to close at or above $265.55 apiece to reach the mark. 

In deals, Visa Inc. agreed to buy Sweden-based open banking platform Tink for 1.8 billion euros ($2.2 billion). The deal comes six months after Visa called off its planned acquisition of the startup Plaid. 

In earnings, Darden Restaurants Inc. swung to a profit as both earnings and revenue exceeded analyst estimates and same-store sales nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels. The restaurant chain operator sees sales growing 25% to 29% during the current fiscal year. 

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil slipped 6 cents to $73.02 a barrel and gold edged up 90 cents to $1,784.30 an ounce. 

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Overseas markets were strong. 

Britain’s FTSE 100 rose after the Bank of England kept policy on hold and said the current period of strong growth and inflation would be temporary. Elsewhere in the region, Germany’s DAX 30 and France’s CAC 40 advanced 0.66% and 1%, respectively. 

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 was unchanged, China’s Shanghai Composite ticked up 0.01% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose climbed 0.23%.  

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