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Stock futures rise slightly after Yellen pushes for more stimulus

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Stock futures were slightly higher early on Friday after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said a major Covid relief program was needed for a full recovery in the United States.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures implied an opening gain of around 55 points. S&P 500 futures rose 0.2%, while Nasdaq 100 futures gained 0.3%.

Yellen told CNBC on Thursday after the bell that more stimulus was needed even as some economic data suggested a quick rebound. She added that a $ 1.9 trillion stimulus deal could help the United States return to full employment within a year.

“We think it’s very important to have a big package [that] responds to the pain this has caused 15 million Americans on their rent, 24 million adults and 12 million children who do not have enough to eat, small businesses fail, ”Yellen told Sara Eisen of CNBC during an interview with “Closing Bell”.

“I think the price of doing too little is much higher than the cost of doing something big. We believe the benefits will far outweigh the costs in the long run,” she added.

The stock market rally to record highs came to a standstill this week as fears of rising rates and inflation crept in. The S&P 500 fell for a third straight day Thursday after a worse-than-expected reading on jobless claims and weak forecasts from Walmart. The 10-year Treasury yield this week hit its highest level in nearly a year, although Friday was still just 1.30%.

Yellen said she didn’t think inflation should be the biggest concern.

“Inflation has been very low for over a decade, and you know it’s a risk, but it’s a risk that the Federal Reserve and others have the tools to deal with,” he said. she declared. “The greatest risk is to scarring people, of seeing this pandemic wreak lifelong havoc on their lives and their livelihoods.”

Many on Wall Street agree with Yellen that a significant stimulus is needed and that this package, along with a smooth economic reopening this year, will cause the market rally to continue.

“Much of our rationale for further gains from here depends on the continued belief that the key drivers that helped lift the market to current levels will remain intact,” said Scott Wren, senior global market strategist for Wells Fargo, in a note. One of the drivers is “additional stimulus from Congress that will help bridge the gap between when vaccines are widely distributed.”

The House of Representatives will attempt to pass a $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan before the end of February, President Nancy Pelosi said Thursday. Democratic leaders in Congress can try to pass a package without a Republicans vote.

Applied Materials, which makes the equipment used to make semiconductors, gave a better-than-expected second quarter forecast. Stocks gained 5% in pre-market trading. Other chip-related stocks have also risen, including Lam Research, AMD and Nvidia.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite are down 0.5% and 1.6% this week, respectively, on track to break their two-week winning streak. The blue chip Dow Jones has only risen 0.1% since the start of the week.

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