Futures tepid after recent run powered by stimulus hopes

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures were flat on Wednesday as investors digested a recent rally to record highs on bets of a snap-back in economic activity fueled by more fiscal stimulus and vaccine rollouts.

FILE PHOTO: The boot on the statue of George Washington, the first president of the United States, is seen across from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) following Election Day in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., November 4, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo/File Photo

Expectations of a hefty COVID-19 relief package under President-elect Joe Biden and hopes of a rebound in corporate earnings this year have eclipsed concerns over signs that the labor market recovery has stalled amid rampant COVID-19 infections.

Wall Street’s main indexes ended marginally higher on Tuesday on a boost from economy-linked financials, energy and materials stocks, while the small-cap Russell 2000, sensitive to domestic outlook, closed at an all-time high.

Investors are watching events in Washington, where the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump over the storming of the U.S. Capitol last week that stunned the nation and left five dead.

U.S. Federal Reserve officials on Tuesday said that concerns about continued violence pose a risk, but the transition to a new administration on Jan. 20 and a likely accelerating vaccine rollout have left them optimistic.

The new Democratic-controlled Senate will take up further COVID-19 relief legislation as soon as Democrats take control of the chamber, U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer assured on Tuesday.

At 6:27 a.m. ET, Dow E-minis were down 12 points, or 0.04% and S&P 500 E-minis were down 4 points, or 0.11%. Nasdaq 100 E-minis were down 11.5 points, or 0.09%.

Earnings reports from big U.S. banks including JPMorgan and Citigroup will mark the unofficial start to the fourth-quarter earnings season later this week where investors will gauge remarks from executives for clues on corporate America’s health.

Exxon Mobil Corp added 0.9% after J.P. Morgan upgraded the stock to “overweight”, its first outright “buy” recommendation for the oil major in seven years, saying cuts in capital spending had put it on track for a stronger performance.

General Motors Co added another 3% in premarket trading on top of Tuesday’s 6% jump after the automaker announced its entry into the growing electric delivery vehicle business.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals climbed 3.5% in light trading as the U.S. government said it would buy 1.25 million additional doses of the company’s COVID-19 antibody cocktail for about $2.63 billion.

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