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US STOCKS-S&P 500, Nasdaq set for record highs on stimulus progress, job market rebound

· 02/05/2021 09:01
US STOCKS-S&P 500, Nasdaq set for record highs on stimulus progress, job market rebound

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J&J files COVID-19 vaccine application with the FDA

Nonfarm payrolls increase by 49,000 in January

Pinterest jumps as results top estimates

Futures up: Dow 0.39%, S&P 0.40%, Nasdaq 0.33%

Adds comment, details; updates prices

By Medha Singh and Devik Jain

- The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were on track to open at record highs on Friday on signs of progress towards more economic stimulus while a closely watched jobs report confirmed the labor market was stabilizing.

Still, U.S. employment growth rebounded less than expected in January and job losses in December were deeper than initially thought, strengthening the argument for additional relief money to aid the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. nL1N2KA34D

President Joe Biden's drive to enact a $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid bill gained momentum early on Friday as the U.S. Senate narrowly approved a budget plan allowing the passage of the legislation in coming weeks with or without Republican support. nL1N2KB0TS

"The market has priced in this Goldilocks scenario that we're going to get past COVID and we're all going to go back to normal," said Dennis Dick, proprietary trader at Bright Trading LLC in Las Vegas.

"It's just a matter of how quickly that recovery comes."

Stimulus talks, upbeat earnings and progress in vaccine rollouts have bolstered bets of a speedy economic recovery, setting the S&P 500 .SPX and the Nasdaq .IXIC on track for their best weeks since the U.S. election in early November.

A retail trading frenzy also appeared to fade after upending markets last week. Videogame retailer GameStop Corp's GME.N shares, which have shed more than 80% of their value this week, were up 8% at $58 in premarket trading.

Stronger-than-expected corporate results so far in the fourth quarter have driven up analysts' expectations, and S&P 500 companies are now on track to post earnings growth for the quarter instead of a decline as initially expected. nL1N2K924P

At 8:35 a.m. EST, Dow E-minis 1YMcv1 were up 121 points, or 0.39% and S&P 500 E-minis EScv1 were up 15.5 points, or 0.4%. Nasdaq 100 E-minis NQcv1 were up 44.5 points, or 0.33%.

Futures tracking the domestically focused Russell 2000 RTYcv1 gained 0.7%.

Johnson & Johnson JNJ.N rose 2% after the drugmaker said it had asked U.S. health regulators to authorize its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, and it would apply to European authorities in the coming weeks. nL1N2KA3CR

Chamath Palihapitiya-backed Clover Health Investments Corp CLOV.O said it had received a letter from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission following a critical report published by noted short-selling specialist Hindenburg Research. nL4N2KB36L

Clover's shares rose 3.4% after plunging about 12% on Thursday.

Pinterest Inc PINS.N jumped 10% after the image-sharing company reported better-than-expected quarterly results. nL4N2KA4IX

Snapchat owner Snap Inc SNAP.N dropped about 7.5% after it warned that upcoming privacy changes by Apple Inc AAPL.O could hurt its ad business. nL1N2KA31C

(Reporting by Devik Jain and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

((Devik.Jain@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6182 2062; ;))