(Yahoo Finance) – Stock futures pointed to a higher open on Monday, extending advances after stocks’ best week since November last week.
Contracts on the Dow rose more than 100 points, or 0.4%, and both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq added to their record closing highs from Friday.
Investor optimism over another round of fiscal stimulus out of Washington helped boost U.S. equities over the past week. A disappointing monthly jobs report last week bolstered the case for additional support to households and businesses, according to lawmakers including President Joe Biden. And Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told CBS on Sunday the U.S. could return to full employment by 2022 – or two to three years ahead of some current projections – if measures in Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan were enacted.
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives voted to move forward with a legislative process known as reconciliation, allowing Democratic lawmakers to try and expediently pass another major coronavirus relief package without needing Republican votes. Congressional committees are poised to begin drafting legislation for the package starting this week, which is expected to include another round of $1,400 stimulus checks, hundreds of billions of dollars in state and local aid and enhanced federal unemployment benefits.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have started to show encouraging signs of easing, though uncertainty still remains over the path of the virus going forward. New cases have averaged just below 118,000 per day over the past week, for a drop of 31% from the average from two weeks earlier, according to New York Times data as of January 7.
Still, however, tight vaccine supplies are on the COVID-19 vaccination program, even as the rate of vaccinations has recently improved to more than 1 million doses per day. Biden told CBS Evening News on Sunday that it would be “very difficult” to reach herd immunity, or with about 75% of the U.S. population vaccinated, by the end of this summer.
Traders this week will also be eyeing another heavy slate of corporate earnings results. So far, the vast majority of companies that have already results have handily beaten expectations, even after a series of upward revisions over the past couple months.
Heading into this week, 59% of the S&P 500 has so far reported fourth-quarter results, according to data from FactSet. Of these, 81% of companies beat earnings expectations, which would tie it for the second-highest percentage of earnings beats since FactSet began tracking the metric in 2008. And earnings are currently on track to rise by 1.7% for the fourth quarter, which would mark the first quarter that S&P 500 companies report aggregate earnings growth since the final quarter of 2019.
7:55 a.m. ET: Tesla says it bought $1.5 billion in bitcoin, according to SEC filing; Bitcoin prices hit record high
Tesla (TSLA) disclosed in a regulatory filing on Monday that it purchased $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin after an update to the company’s investment policy allowed it to allocate a portion of its cash to alternative reserve assets including the cryptocurrency.
“In January 2021, we updated our investment policy to provide us with more flexibility to further diversify and maximize returns on our cash that is not required to maintain adequate operating liquidity,” Tesla said in the filing. “As part of the policy, which was duly approved by the Audit Committee of our Board of Directors, we may invest a portion of such cash in certain alternative reserve assets including digital assets, gold bullion, gold exchange-traded funds and other assets as specified in the future. Thereafter, we invested an aggregate $1.50 billion in bitcoin under this policy and may acquire and hold digital assets from time to time or long-term.”
Tesla said it also expects to begin accepting bitcoin as payment for its products “in the near future,” with some limitations.
Bitcoin prices (BTC-USD) jumped more than 8% to a record high after the filing was posted, sailing above $42,000.
7:26 a.m. ET Monday: Futures point to a higher open, adding to Friday’s gains
Here’s where markets were trading ahead of the opening bell:
- S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,892.25, up 12 points or 0.31%
- Dow futures (YM=F): 31,167.00, up 125 points or 0.4%
- Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 13,638.00, up 40 points or 0.29%
- Crude (CL=F): +$0.66 (+1.16%) to $57.51 a barrel
- Gold (GC=F): +$8.40 (+0.46%) to $1,821.40 per ounce
- 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +1.9 bps to yield 1.189%
Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck
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