Wall Street tries to end the week on a positive note

Wall Street

Futures point to gains

U.S. stock futures were pointing to strong gains at Friday’s opening bell after early strong advances Thursday turned into huge losses by the close.

As of 5:30 a.m. ET, futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 244 points, or 0.84% to 29,236. Those for the S&P 500 gained 29.62 points, or 0.84% to 3,562.12 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures were up 90.38 points, or 0.76% to 11,910.38.

On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 317.46 points, or 1.08%. The S&P 500 retreated 35.65, or 1% while the Nasdaq shed 76.84 points, or 0.65%.

U.S., Europe coronavirus cases surge

Meanwhile, the number of new coronavirus cases continues to surge across the U.S. and Europe. The U.S. on Thursday reported more than 153,000 new cases as some 66,000 people were hospitalized nationwide.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that private outdoor and indoor gatherings statewide would be limited to 10 people, as coronavirus positivity rate jumped to 2.9%.

California and parts of the Midwest have also introduced new restrictions to curb the rising infection rates.

The news in Europe is equally bad with the United Kingdom reporting a record 33,470 new cases on Thursday. Germany and Italy, meanwhile, are struggling to flatten their infection curves.

Powell warns next few months could be challenging

In other news, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned Thursday that the prospect of a coronavirus vaccine is not enough to bring an end to the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic.

“We do see the economy continuing on a solid path of recovery, but the main risk we see to that is clearly the further spread of the disease here in the United States,” Powell said at a virtual conference hosted by the European Central Bank.

“With the virus now spreading, the next few months could be challenging,” he added.

Powell repeated his view as he has for months that further fiscal stimulus from both the Fed and from Congress will likely be needed. The Fed boss spoke alongside ECB President Christine Lagarde and Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey.