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French elections. Geopolitical uncertainty. Falling oil prices. Meh.
Wall Street equities are poised to post their first weekly gain in three as investors once again turn bullish on US fiscal policy and eye corporate earnings.
The S&P 500 was up 1.2 per cent since the end of last week as of Thursday’s close, with stock-index futures pointing to further gains on Friday for the barometer.
Stocks posted solid gains on Thursday, driven by a renewal in hopes that the Trump administration still plans to tackle tax reform as soon as it can, despite congressional setbacks in its initial attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare.
First-quarter earnings results have been mixed overall, with the big US banks broadly beating expectations but other notable large companies like IBM missing estimates. Peter Cecchini, head market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald, notes results thus far “continue to paint a mixed picture on the health of the economy”, something that has been echoed in muddy economic data for the first quarter.
About 80 per cent of the S&P 500 is still on deck to report, with many big tech names slated for next week, which may provide more clues into the state of corporate America.
Investors are also keeping close tabs on France, where the first round of high-stakes elections are scheduled for this weekend.
Oil was poised to post its worst week in a month with concerns lingering over the resurgence of the North American shale industries. West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, was off almost 5 per cent for the week, while Brent was down 5.4 per cent.