MARKET SNAPSHOT: Wall Street Aims For Another Positive Session, As U.S. Politics Take A Breather

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05/19/2017 | 01:19 pm

By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch

Deere, Applied Materials, Ross Stores shares on the move

U.S. stock futures indicated Wall Street could log a second-straight positive session on Friday, helped by a dearth of dramatic news headlines out of Washington, although the week is likely to end as a losing one for equities.

Shares of Deere & Co. soared in premarket trading after the agriculture and construction machinery group posted results that were well above forecasts.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 24 points, or 0.1%, to 20,667, while S&P 500 futures rose 4.9 points, or 0.2%, to 2,368.50. Nasdaq-100 futures added 11.5 points, or 0.2%, to 5,642.

U.S. stocks closed higher on Thursday , buoyed by positive data and gains for tech stocks. The DJIA and Nasdaq Composite Index each ended the session up 0.7%, while the S&P 500 index closed 0.4% higher.

For the week, however, all three indexes are looking at losses of around 1%, as investors have increasingly questioned whether U.S. President Donald Trump can deliver on his economic stimulus promises.

The bulk of the weekly losses came Wednesday, after a report Trump in February asked then-Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey to stop an investigation into Russian interference into the U.S. election. Some investors have questioned whether Trump will even finish his term.

Opinion:Market sentiment during Watergate shows how stocks might react to Trump

"This week political risk has caught up on the market but it's still unclear whether it has any legs," wrote Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid and research analyst Craig Nicol in a note to clients Friday.

"Whether this latest Trump bout of volatility lasts depends on what Mr. Comey really has on the president, but there wasn't much new news to report on the story yesterday which helped U.S. equities to recover," said the Deutsche Bank team.

Worth noting, they said, was that for all the shock waves that have rattled markets this week, the S&P 500 is still only 1.67% away from all-time intraday highs notched Tuesday, along with a roughly 1% weekly loss.

Observers said investors will be closely watching potential developments on the controversy next week. Lawmakers have asked the FBI to turn over the notes Comey said he made from his meetings with Trump by next week, and a congressional hearing on the matter is due to take place, at which the former FBI head has been asked to testify.

Once again, there are few data points to distract investors from the political roller coaster. The first-quarter advance services report is due at 10 a.m. Eastern Time.

Ahead of that, at 9:15 a.m. Eastern, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard is due to give a speech on the economy and monetary policy at the Association for Corporate Growth at Washington University in St. Louis.

Moving stocks: Deere shares (>> Deere & Company) jumped 8.7% ahead of the bell after earnings and sales beat Wall Street forecasts . Earnings from Campbell Soup Co.(>> Campbell Soup Company) are still on deck.

Also in the retail sector, Ross Stores Inc. (>> Ross Stores, Inc.) rose 1% after earnings and sales met forecasts .

Shares of Applied Materials Inc.(>> Applied Materials, Inc.) rose 2.2% in premarket trade after the microchip-materials maker's results and outlook topped Wall Street estimates late Thursday .

Other markets: European stocks saw gains across the board , with the FTSE 100 index set to break a two-day losing streak. In Asia , stocks finished mostly higher.

The dollar traded lower across the board , with the British pound recapturing the $1.30 level it lost late Thursday after a mini "flash crash," which sent it to as low as $1.2888 within seconds.

Gold prices were down modestly, while oil prices added to gains, with West Texas Intermediate crude prices tapping the $50-a-barrel mark .

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