U.S. stock futures advanced slightly on Wednesday evening as investors awaited news on stimulus negotiations and the vaccine approval process.
Futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 30 points, or 0.1%. Those for the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 moved higher 0.2% and 0.1%, respectively.
The move in futures comes after a relatively quiet day on Wall Street as investors monitored developments in Washington about a possible stimulus bill. During Wednesday’s session, the Dow and S&P 500 gained 0.2%, while the Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.1%. The slight move higher for the S&P 500 resulted in a new record high.
On Capitol Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement calling on Republicans to work with them on another round of Covid relief funding, using a bipartisan proposal from Senate moderates as a starting point.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected the $908 billion proposal after it was released on Tuesday, and the Kentucky Republican has repeatedly said he believes the next round of stimulus should be smaller at around $500 billion.
“I don’t think anybody should count on that stimulus, and I think the wise investor is saying, ‘well, it would be nice if it came along, but let’s not count on it,” portfolio manager Joanne Feeney of Advisors Capital Management said on “Closing Bell.”
Also on Wednesday, the U.K. became the first country to grant emergency approval to the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech. Regulators in the U.S. are expected to make determinations on that vaccine and a similar vaccine from Moderna later this month, possibly allowing distribution to begin before the start of 2021.
Still, the rollout of the vaccine is expected to take many months as pharmaceutical companies ramp up production for the global population, with many health experts warning of a tough winter in the United States. The country has seen more than 272,000 deaths attributed to the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
On Thursday, initial claims data will give investors a final reading on the job market before Friday’s major jobs report. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expect 780,000 new jobless claims, roughly unchanged from the prior week.
Investors will also keep an eye on the bond market, where the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield has flirted with the 1% level in recent days.
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