By Peter Nurse
Investing.com – U.S. stocks are seen opening largely unchanged Friday, consolidating after record closing levels the previous session, but sentiment remains positive as corporate earnings impress and economic data point to a robust recovery.
These gains were underpinned by a backdrop of surging retail sales, corporate earnings that beat estimates and a plunge in U.S. bond yields, with the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield falling below 1.60%.
The earnings season continues in full flow Friday, with Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) set to close out what has been a strong week for the banking sector. Analysts were already predicting solid performance from its trading desks, and those expectations have likely only gone up following the blowout numbers from the likes of Citigroup (NYSE:C), JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS).
Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) will also be in focus after the drugmaker’s CEO Albert Bourla said people will ‘likely’ need a third booster dose of Covid-19 vaccines within 12 months and could need annual shots, while Coinbase Global (NASDAQ:COIN) will remains in the spotlight after ARK Investment, managed by celebrity stockpicker Cathie Wood, bought more shares worth $110 million, a day after the cryptocurrency exchange’s Nasdaq debut. This adds to the $250 million ARK had already purchased.
There are more economic numbers to pore over Friday, after Thursday’s stunning 9.8% retail sales March gain, with housing starts due at 8:30 AM ET (1330 GMT). Better weather in March should contribute to a rebound, with economists calling for a 1.7% jump in the month. The Michigan consumer sentiment release for April is also due later Friday.
Oil prices climbed to one-month highs Friday, helped by an improved oil demand outlook on the back of strong economic recoveries in China and the United States, the two largest consumers of oil in the world.
Both the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and the International Energy Agency have this week upgraded their forecasts for world oil demand growth this year.
Eyes will turn to the release of the Baker Hughes oil rig count later Friday, to see whether U.S. shale producers are trying to take advantage of the higher crude prices to increase supply.
U.S. Futures Flat; Morgan Stanley Earnings to Continue Strong Quarter
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