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U.S. stocks were set for a slightly higher open on Friday, boosted by revived optimism over the timing of President Donald Trump’s plans for a tax overhaul, though investors remained cautious ahead of the closely watched presidential election in France.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMM7, +0.07% inched 12 points higher, or 0.1%, to 20,540, while those for the S&P 500 index ESM7, +0.12% added 2.65 points, or 0.1%, to 2,354.75. Futures for the Nasdaq-100 index NQM7, +0.12% climbed 8.75 points, or 0.2%, to 5,451.50.
The indications of a positive open come after U.S. stocks ended higher on Thursday, buoyed by a deluge of stronger-than-expected corporate earnings reports and economic data. Comments by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who said that President Donald Trump’s tax overhaul will be unveiled in the near future, also bolstered sentiment.
“A move by Trump to challenge steel imports and positive tax reform rhetoric from Treasury Secretary Mnuchin revived hopes for the fabled Trump ‘reflation trade,’” said analysts at Accendo Markets, in a note.
“Markets have also taken in their stride another terror attack in the French capital just days before Sunday’s first round of the Presidential election,” they added.
The S&P 500 index SPX, +0.76% on Thursday ended 0.8% higher, while the Dow average DJIA, +0.85% gained 0.9%. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.92% added 0.9% to end at a record close. As of Thursday’s close, the benchmarks were set for weekly gains in the range of 0.6% to 1.9%.
Late Thursday, a gunman opened fire on the Champs-Élysées boulevard in Paris, killing a police officer and wounding two others. European stocks were mixed, with France’s CAC 40 index PX1, -0.18% down 0.2%.
The euro EURUSD, -0.1586% was trading at $1.0701, down from $1.0718 late Thursday in New York.
The attack could give a late-campaign surge in support for anti-immigration, far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the tight presidential race, analysts said. Le Pen has vowed to hold a referendum on France’s membership of the European Union, fueling fears of a breakup of the bloc. One of her three key rivals, far-left euroskeptic Jean Luc Melenchon, has also pledged to renegotiate EU treaties and hold a referendum.
Far-left firebrand Mélenchon shakes up French election
A late surge in support of far-left candidate, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, has thrown open the first round of the French Presidential election which takes place this weekend. Photo: Getty Images
“A Le Pen (far right) & Mélenchon (far left) result would surely raise alarms. Markets look to be pricing in something between the two with [centrist candidate Emmanuel] Macron and Le Pen progressing to the second round in [in two weeks] time, although the last year of global political events has taught us to expect the unexpected,” the Accendo analysts said.
Economic news: Wrapping up the data calendar for the week, flash purchasing managers indexes for April are due at 9:45 a.m. Eastern Time.
Existing home sales for March come out at 10 a.m.
In Federal Reserve news, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari will moderate a discussion at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn. at 9:30 a.m. Eastern.
Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer gives an interview on CNBC between 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Eastern.
Other markets: Stocks in Asia closed mainly higher, boosted by the higher close in the U.S. on Thursday.