(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Friday as optimism around an economic rebound next year outweighed concerns around an expected surge in coronavirus infections during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Wall Street’s main indexes have gained more than 10% this month as investors bet on a sooner-than-expected COVID-19 vaccine and calmer global trade under President-elect Joe Biden, setting the S&P 500 for its best November ever.
A rotation into sectors such as industrials and financials, deemed to benefit from an economic recovery, has also powered the Dow to record highs and put it on track for its biggest monthly gain since 1987.
But both the indexes pulled back on Wednesday as data showed a stuttering recovery in the labor market, sending investors back to the perceived safety of technology heavyweights, including Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN).
Gains were capped by U.S. hospitalizations for COVID-19 reaching a record of more than 89,000 on Wednesday and experts warning that holiday gatherings could lead to another spike in cases and deaths.
Stock markets in Europe were subdued by doubts around the effectiveness of AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN)’s COVID-19 vaccine, potentially hindering chances of the shot getting speedy U.S. and EU regulatory approvals.
Trading volumes are expected to be light as the U.S. stock market closes early on Friday.
In company news, Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) Co edged lower in premarket trading after an increase in its planned layoffs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
U.S. listed shares of online entertainment services company iQIYI Inc fell 2.6% after Reuters reported Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) Group Holding Ltd and Tencent Holdings (OTC:TCEHY) Ltd had put on hold talks to buy a controlling stake in the video streaming service.