Markets expected to open higher as traders digest Fed minutes

Wall Street

More gains ahead for U.S. stocks

U.S. stock markets look set for more gains on Thursday as traders continue to digest minutes from the Federal Reserve’s June 14-15 policy meeting.

As of 5:45 a.m. ET, the blue-chip Dow futures rallied 114 points, or 0.37% to 31,127. S&P 500 future added 13.25 points, or 0.34% to 3,861.5 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures were up 47.75 points, or 0.4% to 11,928.

Wall Street closed higher during the previous session after the Federal Reserve released minutes from its Federal Open Market Committee’s meeting in June, where it announced its biggest rate-hike since 1994.

The minutes signaled another big hike is likely later this month as Fed policymakers continue to make aggressive moves to fight the red-hot U.S. inflation.

Jobless claims data eyed

Today’s major data release is weekly jobless claims report, which will come out at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists expect initial claims for state unemployment benefit to remain steady at 230,000 from the prior week.

The claims data comes ahead of the June jobs report, which will be released by the Labor Department on Friday morning.

Expectations are for the U.S. economy to have added 250,000 jobs last month, compared to 390,000 jobs in May.

Merck said to be in advanced discussions to acquire Seagen in a deal valued at over $40 billion

Meanwhile, Merck (MRK) is reportedly in advanced talks to buy Seagen (SGEN) in a deal that could be worth about $40 billion or more.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Merck is eyeing to finalize a deal to acquire the cancer-focused biotech company on or before the announcement of Merck’s second-quarter earnings on July 28.

People familiar with the matter told the Journal that the companies are discussing a price above $200 a share for Seagen. However, there is still no guarantee that the companies will agree on a deal.

Seagen stock was up $8.99, or 5.13% to $184.12 a share in the premarket trading session Thursday.

Boris Johnson to step down as UK prime minister

Elsewhere, Boris Johnson will announce his resignation as U.K. prime minister later today, according to multiple media reports.

His resignation comes after a wave of resignations from cabinet members in his government and pressure from key allies to resign. Bloomberg News reported that he will stay on as caretaker leader until October.

Johnson has severed as UK prime minister for less than three years. He had faced growing calls to step down following a series of scandals, including breaking Covid-19 lockdown rules and lying to lawmakers about it.

More recently, Johnson had to apologize for appointing a lawmaker called Chris Pincher to oversee discipline in the Conservative Party, despite sexual misconduct allegations against him.