US stock futures edge up after strong earnings lift S&P to its best day since March, as bitcoin tops $60,000

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US politicians often place major bets on Wall Street. Angela Weiss/Getty Images
  • US futures rose Friday after stocks notched their biggest gain since March the previous day.
  • Strong earnings and falling US jobless claims cheered investors, while bond yields stayed below 1.6%.
  • Elsewhere, bitcoin topped $US60,000 ($AU80,913), and oil prices continued their relentless march higher.

US futures rose Friday after stocks notched their biggest gain since March on the back of strong earnings the previous day.

Meanwhile, bitcoin topped $US60,000 ($AU80,913), leading to excitement that the cryptocurrency could hit a record high before the end of the year.

S&P 500 futures were up 0.27%, Nasdaq 100 futures were 0.23% higher, and Dow Jones futures advanced 0.33% on Friday, indicating an upbeat start to regular trading later.

The previous day, the S&P 500 logged its best performance since March, rising 1.71% as investors cheered strong earnings reports from banks and healthcare companies.

European stocks climbed Friday, with the continent-wide Stoxx 600 index up 0.31%. In Asia overnight, China’s CSI 300 rose 0.38%, and Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped 1.81%.

A number of factors are supporting stocks, according to Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid. They include “decent corporate earnings releases, a mini-collapse in real yields, positive data on US jobless claims, as well as a further fall in global COVID-19 cases that leaves them on track for an 8th consecutive weekly decline,” he said in a note.

Bank of America’s shares jumped more than 4% Thursday, after the US lender posted a sharp rise in third-quarter profit. Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and UnitedHealth Group also gained after their quarterly financial updates.

Goldman Sachs is set to report earnings on Friday, while big names such as Tesla, Johnson & Johnson and Netflix will release their figures next week.

A fall in weekly US jobless claims also helped stock-market sentiment on Thursday and Friday. They dropped to 293,000 last week, data showed Thursday, the lowest reading since March 2020 and below economists’ expectations.

US bond yields edged higher on Friday, with the yield on the key 10-year US Treasury note up 2.7 basis points to 1.546%. Yet the yield, which moves inversely to the price, was down on the week, having started above 1.6% on Monday.

Elsewhere in markets, bitcoin briefly topped $US60,000 ($AU80,913) for the first time since April on Friday as the rally in the world’s biggest cryptocurrency continued. It then dipped to trade at around $US59,440 ($AU80,158).

Analysts said bitcoin jumped due to excitement around a Bloomberg report that a bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund is likely to be approved in the US soon. Such a product would open up the crypto market to a range of institutional investors.

Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Avatrade, said it would be a “watershed moment for the crypto community as they have been waiting for this since 2018. The reflection of this optimism can also be seen by looking at the bitcoin price which is only 7% away from its all-time high.”

In the energy markets, oil continued its relentless march higher. Brent crude oil rose 0.86% to $US84.72 ($AU114), a three-year high. WTI crude was trading at around a seven-year high, having risen 0.77% to $US81.94 ($AU111).