Stock futures were higher on Friday morning as uncertainty over whether the new White House administration can pass health care reform continued.
S&P 500 futures were up 0.2%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures added 0.22%, and Nasdaq futures gained 0.25%.
The Trump administration has finished negotiating with the conservative Freedom Caucus over the details of the American Health Care Act, according to reports. Donald Trump reportedly has told lawmakers that if the health care bill does not pass on Friday, he will move on to tax reform and other issues, leaving Obamacare in place. On the campaign trail last year, Trump had said he would repeal Obamacare on day one of his presidency.
A vote on the Obamacare repeal and replace bill was originally scheduled for Thursday evening, but was delayed by GOP leaders. The Trump administration and Speaker Paul Ryan have implored lawmakers in closed-door meetings to support the bill. The passage of the bill is seen by Wall Street as a test as to whether a Trump administration can enact all it has promised, particularly tax cuts and regulatory reform. Patience with the slow progress of health care and financial reforms wore thin earlier in the week, sending stocks spiraling to their worst losses of the year.
The package expected to be voted on Friday will include the legislation approved by various House committees and an amendment containing sweeteners designed to bring at least some of the Freedom Caucus's members on board. Among the amendment's provisions will be one that eliminates the underlying health care bill's 10 essential health benefit requirements, including the requirement that health plans not deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
Durable goods orders in February came in better than anticipated. The Census Bureau reported on Friday that orders for long-lasting goods in the U.S. rose 1.7% last month, weakening from 2.3% growth in January but above estimates of 1.5% growth. Core goods orders fell by 0.1%, weaker than an anticipated increase of 0.5%.
The Trump administration officially approved the Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, as expected. Former President Barack Obama had blocked the controversial pipeline.
TransCanada (TRP - Get Report) climbed more than 1% before the bell after receiving a presidential permit to construct the Keystone pipeline. The permit from the U.S. Department of State led TransCanada to discontinue its bankruptcy claim. The company said it appreciates the new administration "reviewing and approving this important initiative."
Finish Line (FINL) slumped 15% in premarket trading after a disappointing quarter. The shoe retailer swung to a loss of 23 cents a share from profit of 9 cents a share in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted earnings of 50 cents a share came in 20 cents below estimates. Revenue of $557.5 million exceeded estimates of $548.1 million. Same-store sales fell 4.5%.