Stock futures were not much changed on Thursday night as investors waited for earnings reports from several big banks.
S&P 500 futures were down 0.03%. Dow Jones Industrial Average Futures fell by 25 points or 0.07% and Nasdaq100 futures were unchanged.
The S&P 500 rose 0.85% in regular trading. Nvidia, Alphabet and Nasdaq Composite all contributed to the Nasdaq Composite's 1.58% gain. Dow gained 47.71 points or 0.14%. Thursday marked the fourth consecutive gain for major averages. The Nasdaq, as well as the S&P 500, closed at their highest levels. All three indexes look set for a successful week.
The June consumer price index, released the day before, showed that inflation was lower than expected. This report fueled the optimism of traders. Investors now consider whether the strong economy indicated by recent data can push stocks higher at the end of the calendar year.
Bill Merz is the senior investment director of U.S. Bank Wealth Management. He said, "The majority of stock and bond indexes rose today because economic data shows that inflation has dropped quickly and labor market is strong." Investors are boosting stock prices as they await the second-quarter results. They're optimistic that inflation will continue falling. Bond prices were also boosted by investors, who now expect only one rate hike before the Federal Reserve begins cutting rates early in 2024.
The second half of this year may still be very strong.
Ross Mayfield, a Baird analyst, said that despite the volatility, the call for a second-half performance underperformance will only get louder. "Amid all the noise, remember that a good start to the year has been a bullish indicator - not one of bearishness - which has often preceded a solid performance in the second half."
The three major averages have been gaining ground on a weekly basis. The S&P is up 2.5% for the week while the Dow is only up 1.9%. The Nasdaq Composite has been the best performer this week, gaining 3.5%. It is on track for its best weekly performance since March 17.
The morning will bring the release of the preliminary results for July from the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Report and the June import prices.