Futures rise ahead of June jobs report

(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 EScv1 were up 19.25 points, or 0.62% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 39 points, or 0.38%.

Travel-related stocks were among the biggest gainers in premarket trade, with cruise line operators Carnival Corp (CCL.N), Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL.N) and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (NCLH.N) rising between 3% and 4%.

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

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