Stock market set to extend records, led by Facebook – MarketWatch

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U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a higher open on Thursday, with major indexes looking set to extend their push into record territory, supported by the latest round of positive corporate results.

In particular, Facebook Inc. FB, +0.20% rallied in premarket trading a day after the social media giant posted results that beat quarterly earnings expectations. The company could be nearing a $500 billion market cap if shares maintain their strength throughout the session. The stock has already jumped more than 40% thus far this year.

Futures indicated U.S. stock markets are likely to hold at the record levels reached in the prior session. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YMU7, +0.13%  rose 11 points, or 0.1%, to 21,659, while S&P 500 futures ESU7, +0.19%  gained 4 points, or 0.2%, to 2,477. Nasdaq-100 futures NQU7, +0.67%  jumped 41 points, or 0.7%, to 5,989.

The outsize move in the Nasdaq was largely attributable to Facebook, as the index is heavily weighted toward technology shares.

All three U.S. benchmarks closed at record highs Wednesday, supported by upbeat corporate results. The DJIA DJIA, +0.45%  jumped 0.5% to end at 21,711.01, the S&P 500 SPX, +0.03% added just 0.7 point to 2,477.83, and the Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.16%  put on 0.2% to 6,422.75.

Facebook’s strong showing was likely behind the tech gains building Thursday, said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, in emailed comments.

“Tech stocks are having to live up to lofty expectations, given the gains they’ve experienced this year—particularly in the bigger names—and the levels of growth we’re seeing are doing just that,” he said.

Read: Next stop for Facebook shares? $200, say analysts applauding results

Read: Facebook keeps warning about growth, but growth doesn’t stop

Erlam believes investors are looking for something to fill the gap left by U.S. President Donald Trump’s inability to deliver on tax-cut and spending promises.

“As it stands, earnings season isn’t disappointing, which is why we haven’t seen the correction in stocks that we’ve seen elsewhere this year,” he said.

Sean Darby, chief global equity strategist at Jefferies and a team said they would lift their S&P 500 target to 2,500 from 2,325, saying as long as nominal gross domestic product is “running higher than U.S. Treasury yields, investors should own the U.S.”

Among other corporate results, Procter & Gamble Co. PG, +0.18% edged higher in premarket trading after the Dow component posted a fourth-quarter profit that was above expectations. United Parcel Service Inc. UPS, -0.82% also gained before the bell after its results topped consensus forecasts.

MasterCard Inc. MA, +0.78% also reported stronger-than-expected earnings and revenue for the second quarter as consumers boosted their spending.

Twitter TWTR, -1.80%  fell about 10% in premarket trading after the microblogging platform reported lackluster user growth.

Separately, Comcast Corp. CMCSA, -1.01% posted profit and revenue that beat analysts expectations, and shares rose 2% in premarket, while Verizon Communications Inc. VZ, +0.95%  gained 1.6% after results.

After the market close, Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +1.24%  is scheduled to report its quarterly results, along with Expedia Inc. EXPE, +1.53%  Intel Corp. INTC, +0.23% Starbucks Corp. SBUX, -1.04%  and Mattel Inc. MAT, -0.81%

PayPal Holdings Inc. PYPL, +0.91%  shares added 2.8% after the mobile payment group topped earnings views and raised guidance.

Overseas companies with U.S.-listed shares were also active. AstraZeneca PLC AZN, -15.84% AZN, +0.47%  sank 16% in premarket, matching a London move, after the drug heavyweight reported a negative result in a Phase 3 clinical trial of its lung-cancer treatment Mystic. Shares of rival Bristol-Meyer Squibb Co. BMY, +0.05%  fell 6% in premarket after its results.

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV BUD, +1.54% ABI, +5.50%  moved 5.3% higher after the brewing giant posted a surge in quarterly profit.

And the world’s largest liquor maker Diageo PLC DEO, +1.02%  soared 7.5% in premarket trading after lifting its target for profit margin growth.

Economic data: The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits rose in late July but remained near the lowest level in decades. Separately, orders for durable or long-lasting U.S. goods soared 6.5% in June.

Data on housing vacancies for the second quarter are due at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Other markets: European stocks SXXP, -0.01%  traded mixed as investors absorbed a heavy stream of earnings, while in Asia ADOW, +0.80% equity markets were broadly positive.

Gold prices GCQ7, +1.15%  were trading higher, up $13, or 1%, to $1,262.30 an ounce, with precious and base metals rising across the board.

The ICE Dollar Index DXY, +0.29%  continued to push lower, last trading at 93.59, from 94.05 late Wednesday. The dollar weakened on Wednesday, after some analysts viewed the Federal Reserve as striking a dovish tone in its policy statement.

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