Dow Futures Gain, Nasdaq Rallies As Wall Street Pauses To Reflect On 9/11 Anniversary

Tech stocks look set to lead Wall Street higher Friday as traders close out a volatile week for world stocks on the grim anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist atrocities in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

The Friday Market Minute

  • Global stocks mixed, with modest gains in Asia offset by weakness in Europe as traders close out a volatile week for world markets.
  • Tech stocks look to lead Wall Street higher Friday as the Nasdaq rebounds past the 11,000 point mark amid pre-market gains for Apple and Tesla.
  • Sterling slumps in its worst week against the dollar since March amid renewed concerns for a so-called 'hard Brexit' from the European Union later this year.
  • The U.S. dollar slips lower as the euro holds gains following a less-dovish monetary policy outlook from ECB President Christine Lagarde yesterday in Frankfurt.
  • U.S. equity futures suggest a firmer open on Wall Street ahead of August inflation data at 8:30 am Eastern time and before the bell earnings from Kroger.

U.S. equity futures bounced higher Friday, contrasting weakness in markets around the world, as traders look to close out a volatile week for world stocks on the nineteenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Tech stocks once again appear set to lead U.S. markets higher, with futures contracts tied to the Nasdaq Composite index indicating a 95 point opening bell advance for the tech-focused benchmark, lifting it firmly past the 11,000 point mark, but still some 7.5% south of the all-time high it reached last week.

Still, investors are continuing to question the strength and pace of recoveries in major economies around the world -- including the U.S. -- as the impact of fiscal and monetary stimulus fades heading into the final months of the year.

In the U.S., weekly jobless claims remain stuck near the 1 million mark, suggesting August's government-lead payroll gains won't be repeated this month, while in Britain, the pace of GDP growth in July slowed notably from June, and investors are worried that the country's increasingly bellicose stance on Brexit talks could lead to it crashing out of the European Union later this year without a bespoke trade deal.

Prospects for a near-term coronavirus vaccine breakthrough were also tempered this week with AstraZenca's AZN decision to pause its advanced-stage trials, as well as by a letter from some of the world's biggest drugmakers pledging not to rush their respective procedures for the sake of political expediency.

Still, with tech stocks on the rise, U.S. interest rates at record lows and the Federal Reserve continuing to hover-up financial assets at pace of around $40 billion a day, Wall Street looks set to close out the week on a high note, with futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average indicating a 125 point opening bell gain and those linked the broader S&P 500 suggesting a 22 point advance. 

The Nasdaq will observe a moment of silence at 9:20 am Eastern time to remember victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, while bells will toll around Wall Street, and the World Trade Center site, between 8:46 am and 10:29 am Eastern time. 

Shares in Oracle  (ORCL) - Get Report were a notable pre-market mover, rising 3.4% to $59.30 each after the cloud software group posted stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings and said it had won big cloud contracts for McDonald's Corp.  (MCD) - Get Report and grocery store chain Albertson's  (ACI) - Get Report.

Peleton Interactive  (PTON) - Get Report shares were also on the move, rising 12.3% to an all-time high of $98.55 each after the connected fitness group posted its first ever quarterly profit and boosted its 2021 revenue outlook.

In Europe, Britain's admission that it will break international law by breaching part of its Brexit treaty with the EU put markets on the back foot again Friday, sending the pound to its worst weak against the dollar since mid-March and raising the prospect of a so-called 'no deal' Brexit later this year.

The Stoxx 600 benchmark slipped 0.1% lower in early Friday trading in Frankfurt, while the weaker pound, which traded at 1.2789 against the greenback, boosted the FTSE 100, which is replete with stocks that earn the majority of their revenues in non-sterling currencies. 

Global oil prices were also lower Friday, even with a surprise decline of 2 million barrels in U.S. crude inventories reported by the Energy Department yesterday, as traders fret over the pace of world demand in a weakening global economy.

WTI contracts for October delivery, the U.S. benchmark, traded 4 cents lower from their Thursday close in New York at $37.26 per barrel in early European dealing while Brent contracts for November, the new global benchmark, were seen 12 cents lower at $39.94 per barrel.

Overnight in Asia,  the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo closed 1.74% higher at 23,406.49 points as the country's coronavirus infection rate eased and regional trade prospects improved, while the region-wide MSCI ex-Japan benchmark was seen 0.3% higher heading into the close of trading thanks to solid Friday gains for stocks in China.