Stock futures moved higher on Thursday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average set to open at a record high.
S&P 500 futures were up 0.6%, Dow futures added 0.7%, and Nasdaq futures gained 0.71%.
Markets continued to trade on Tuesday's election results. President-elect Donald Trump won New Hampshire, North Carolina, Florida, and Wisconsin, key battleground states both candidates needed to secure to win the election. Trump won the Electoral College but fell short of the popular vote. Markets had priced in a victory for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, a result which would have carried less uncertainty over the types of policies she would implement.
"Our bottom line is that the equity rally from the overnight lows was largely anchored on the fact that the 2016 election actually played out according to historical norms," said Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at Convergex. "Americans voted, a clear winner emerged and his party converged around him, the loser conceded, and the sitting president gave the customary unity speech. That such a dramatic and divisive election was settled in such a prosaic way was very good news indeed. As for the coming days, we see equities continuing to move higher."
Pharmaceutical stocks were in rally mode after Democrats failed to secure the presidency and Republicans maintained control of the House and Senate. Democrats would likely have reined in rampant price gouging from pharmaceutical companies. Merck (MRK) , Pfizer (PFE) and Sanofi (SNY) moved higher in premarket trading.
Pfizer also on watch on reports it is weighing a sale or spinoff of its consumer health business. The unit, which includes brands such as Advil, could be valued by as much as $14 billion.
Crude oil prices fell on Thursday after production from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries hit another record high. The International Energy Agency found that OPEC output increased by 230,000 a day to 33.83 million barrels a day in October. OPEC currently has a target cap of 33 million barrels on production. OPEC are set to meet in Vienna later this month to discuss a possible production freeze.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil was down 0.6% to $44.99 a barrel on Thursday.
Jobless claims hit a one-month low in the past week, according to the Labor Department. The number of new claims for unemployment benefits decreased by 11,000 to 254,000. The less-volatile four-week average rose by 1,750 to 259,750.
ConocoPhillips (COP) increased 1% after raising its share buyback program to $3 billion and announcing the sale of $5 billion to $8 billion worth of assets in its North American natural gas division. The oil company also said it would cut capital expenditures in 2017.
In earnings news, Kohl's (KSS) jumped more than 7% after topping quarterly profit and sales estimates. The retail chain earned an adjusted 80 cents a share, a dime above expectations. Same-store sales fell 1.7%, as analysts expected, while revenue of $4.33 billion narrowly topped forecasts by $10 million. Kohl's also increased its stock repurchase program to $2 billion.
Mylan (MYL) rose 1% despite falling short of third-quarter earnings and sales estimates. The drugmaker reported a loss of 23 cents a share, a sharp reversal from profit of 83 cents a share a year earlier. The large loss was largely tied to a $465 million settlement with the Department of Justice. Adjusted earnings came in at $1.38 a share, missing estimates of $1.45.
Macy's (M) climbed more than 2% after announcing a series of real estate deals. The company has partnered with Brookfield to manage its current real estate portfolio, which includes a "pre-development plan" for 50 of its assets. The retail chain also missed third-quarter estimates and revised down its full-year sales outlook. Third-quarter same-store sales of 2.7% missed estimates of 2.8%.
Verizon (VZ) might rescind its $4.8 billion offer to buy Yahoo! (YHOO) , in part because of the damage resulting from the massive hack of Yahoo! customers, the Internet company said Wednesday in a regulatory filing. Yahoo! said there is "no assurance" the deal will actually go through. Yahoo! shares were more than 1% higher in premarket trading.