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Stock futures dipped Wednesday morning to pull back from record levels, with traders considering a stronger-than-expected print on private payroll gains and looking ahead to more economic data out at the end of this week.
Contracts on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were each off slightly after the indexes set record levels yet again during Tuesday’s regular trading day. Dow futures also declined.
The major U.S. stock indexes have moved only modestly so far this week, hovering at or near record levels while traders await more catalysts to push equities higher. Many have pointed to the prospects of another batch of strong corporate earnings results as a likely source of upcoming strength, given the firming economic backdrop as pandemic risks in the U.S. recede further.
On Wednesday, traders got stronger than expected update on the labor market in ADP’s June private payrolls report. This underscored the ongoing economic recovery with a sixth straight monthly increase in employment, with jobs rising by 692,000 versus the 600,000 expected.
Consumer confidence has also risen and pointed to Americans’ increased propensity to spend, with the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index racing to the highest level since February 2020 in June.
“If you look at what’s really been powering the economy and powering the stock market, it’s been the fact that there’s been so much fiscal stimulus pour into the economy,” David Lefkowitz, UBS Global Wealth Management head of equities for the Americas told Yahoo Finance. “What’s really crucial though is that a lot of that fiscal stimulus has actually not been spent year. It’s sitting on the balance sheets of consumers.”
“It’s a lot of dry powder for continued gains in the economy, and that translates into good news for corporate profits down the road,” he added.
Wednesday’s session also marks the final day of trading for the month of June, the second quarter, and the first half of 2021. In the S&P 500, the real estate, information technology and communication services sectors have come in at the top-performers for the March through June quarter, and only the utilities sector is on track to end the quarter lower. For the year-to-date through Tuesday’s close, the S&P 500 has increased 14.3%, the Nasdaq by 12.7% and the Dow by 12%.
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