June 19, 2020 / 10:53 AM / 14 days ago

US STOCKS-Futures climb on optimism over swift recovery

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* Futures up: Dow 0.92%, S&P 0.80%, Nasdaq 0.78%

By Medha Singh and Devik Jain

June 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose about 1% on Friday as investors wagered on a bounce back in post-pandemic economic activity, shrugging off the daily increase in new coronavirus infections in several states.

Oil major Exxon Mobil Corp rose 1.7% in premarket trading and Chevron Corp gained 0.4% as Brent crude rose above $42 a barrel amid signs of gradual recovery in demand and oil producers’ promise to meet supply cuts.

California, Florida and North Carolina urged mandatory mask use on Thursday as at least six states set daily records for new coronavirus cases. Mainland China also reported 32 new cases of infections, an uptick from a day earlier.

Risk of a resurgence of the virus outbreak has led to choppy trading sessions this week, but the three main stock indexes are set to wrap up the week higher after a strong retail sales report for May and signs of additional official stimulus.

The S&P 500 ended marginally higher on Thursday with the tech-heavy Nasdaq notching its sixteenth rise in the past 19 sessions.

The benchmark S&P 500 and the blue-chip Dow are now about 8% and 12% below their respective record closing highs hit in February, while the Nasdaq is about 0.5% below its all-time closing high on June 10.

Markets are likely to become more volatile during Friday’s session on account of “quadruple witching,” as investors unwind interests in futures and options contracts prior to expiration.

At 6:29 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 240 points, or 0.92%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 24.75 points, or 0.80% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 78.25 points, or 0.78%.

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc jumped 7.6% on plans to reopen theaters at about 450 locations in the United States next month and the company expects returning to full-seating capacity around Thanksgiving.

Later in the day, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will participate in a video conference where he will talk about ways regions and cities across the country can help their workforces better withstand and recover from shocks related to the pandemic. (Reporting by Devik Jain and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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