(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures rose on Thursday as investors awaited the crucial jobs report for further evidence of an economic rebound in June, although a record surge in daily COVID-19 cases kept gains in check.
Optimism about a post-pandemic rebound in business activity, aggressive U.S. stimulus and hopes of a COVID-19 vaccine have fueled a Wall Street rally since April, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq notching up its sixth record closing high since early June on Wednesday.
After recent data showed U.S. manufacturing in June hit its highest level in more than a year, the Labor Department’s monthly employment report due later in the day is expected to show record job growth last month, signaling that a COVID-19-driven recession was probably over.
But with several states scaling back or pausing reopenings to tackle a recent surge in coronavirus infections, analysts have warned of another selloff in financial markets if the damage to Corporate America mounts.
Third-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies are now expected to tumble 25%, compared with a forecast of a 2.7% drop on April 1, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. In the second quarter, earnings are forecast to have plunged 43%.
Travel-related stocks were among the biggest gainers in premarket trade, with cruise line operators Carnival Corp (N:CCL), Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (N:RCL) and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (N:NCLH) rising between 3% and 4%.