Stocks set to open in the green
U.S. stock markets are pointing to a positive open on Thursday after the House gave final passage to President Joe Biden’s massive coronavirus relief package on Wednesday.
The measure now heads to the President, who is expected to sign it on Friday, ending a nearly two-month process that kicked off shortly after he came to power. It will provide checks of up to $1,400 to individuals earning under $80,000 and couples earning under $160,000.
By 5:35 a.m. ET, futures tied to the blue-chip Dow were up 94 points, or 0.29% to 32,373. The S&P 500 futures climbed 27.38 points, or 0.70% to 3,923.88 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures surged 221 points, or 1.73% to 12,970.25.
Core CPI rises less than anticipated; Bond yields pull back
Meanwhile, data released by the U.S. Labor Department on Wednesday showed the overall consumer price index (CPI) increased as forecast by 0.4% in February from a rise of 0.3% in the prior month and by 1.7% on a year-over-year basis.
However, core inflation, which does not include volatile energy and food prices, recorded a much smaller 0.1% gain, easing fears that inflation could shoot up as the economy begins to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields fell below the 1.5% mark in overnight trading following last night’s auction
ECB policy decision awaited
Today, traders will be watching as the European Central Bank meets to set its monetary policy and give its view on whether the recent rise in government-bond yields across the world is a threaten to the region’s economy.
Virtually all economists expect the ECB to keep its deposit facility rate steady at -0.50% and the marginal lending facility at 0.25%.
ECB policy makers are also expected leave the target of their quantitative easing policy unchanged to continue supporting the coronavirus-ravaged Eurozone economy.
The ECB will announce its policy decision at 7:45 a.m. ET, followed by ECB President Christine Lagarde’s press conference at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Jobless claims data on tap
Moving ahead, the Labor Department is scheduled to published its report on weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists estimate that 725,000 unemployment claims were filed for the week ended March 6, a decline of 20,000 from the prior week.
Continuing claims for the week ended Feb 27 are seen coming in at 4.2 million expected, down from 4.295 million during the prior week. While unemployment claims have gone down in recent weeks, they are still well above pre-pandemic levels.