Futures higher; President Biden, Jobless claims, ECB decision, Intel, IBM, and more

Wall Street

Stock futures mildly higher as President Biden takes oath of office

U.S. stock futures were slightly higher early Thursday amid strong expectations of more economic stimulus after President Joe Biden took office on Wednesday.

Biden has already called for a $1.9 trillion relief plan, and promised a second round of stimulus targeted on investments in development, infrastructure, and research to revive the coronavirus-battered economy.

The new president has promised that addressing economic impacts caused by the coronavirus pandemic is his top priority.

At 5:20 a.m. ET, the blue-chip Dow futures added 18.5 points to 31,114.5. The S&P 500 gained 5.88 points, or 0.15% to 3,850.88 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures were up 48 points, or 0.36% to 13,342.25.

Jobless claims data on tap

Today, traders’ attention is likely to be focused on initial jobless claims report for the week ended Jan. 16.

Economists expect initial jobless claims to drop to 925,000 from 965,000 in the prior week. Continuing claims are seen coming in at 5.3 million, up from 5.271 million during prior week.

The U.S. Department of Labor is scheduled to publish the report at 8:30 a.m. ET. At the same time, traders expect data on housing starts and building permits for December.

Housing starts are projected to have increased at a 1.558 million rate in December from 1.547 million in November. Building permits are expected to rise at a 1.610 million rate from November’s 1.635 million.

ECB policy decision eyed

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank (ECB) expected to leave interest rates and the pace of bond purchases unchanged later today after its monetary policy meeting at 7:45 a.m. ET.

Market participants will be paying attention to hear what ECB President Christine Lagarde says about inflation projections, economic growth, and the euro’s rise against the dollar as EU members fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Intel, IBM earnings to report earnings after the close

Earnings reports from tech bellwethers Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) and International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM) are being watched today for clues about the direction of the tech industry.

Intel is expected to post quarterly earnings of $1.10 a share on sales of $17.49 billion after the closing bell. Shares of the Santa Clara-based chip giant were little changed in the pre-market trading session.

IBM is projected to report earnings of $1.79 a share on revenue of $20.64 billion after the market close. Shares of IBM were little changed in pre-market trade.

Other notable earnings to watch today include Travelers (NYSE: TRV), Baker Hughes (NYSE: BKR), Union Pacific (NYSE: UNP), and Match Group (NASDAQ: MTCH).