Futures rise ahead of June jobs report

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(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%.

At 6:39 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis <1YMcv1> were up 235 points, or 0.92%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 19.25 points, or 0.62% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 39 points, or 0.38%.

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%.

Economically-sensitive stocks including Morgan Stanley (N:MS), Goldman Sachs (N:GS), Citigroup Inc (N:C), JPMorgan Chase (N:JPM) and Bank of America Corp (N:BAC) rose between 1% and 3%.

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