Stimulus hopes lift futures ahead of economic data

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(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures rose on Thursday as investors remained hopeful of a new coronavirus fiscal aid package ahead of a clutch of economic data including consumer spending and weekly jobless claims.

The Trump administration has proposed a new stimulus bill to House Democrats worth more than $1.5 trillion that includes a $20 billion extension in aid for the battered airline industry, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said on Wednesday.

U.S. airlines have been pleading for more payroll support to protect jobs after the current package expired at midnight on Thursday.

Shares of American Airlines Group Inc (O:AAL), Delta Air Lines Inc (N:DAL), United Airlines Holdings Inc (O:UAL) and JetBlue Airways Corp (O:JBLU) rose between 1.3% and 3.6% in thin premarket trading.

Optimistic comments on fiscal stimulus from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had helped Wall Street’s main indexes jump on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 clocking its best two-quarter gain since 2009.

With a clutch of better-than-expected data also boosting sentiment in the previous session, investors will turn to consumer spending figures for August and the latest batch of weekly jobless claims on Thursday to gauge the pace of the domestic economic recovery.

September data on the manufacturing sector is also due at 10 a.m. ET, while the Labor Department’s comprehensive jobs report is scheduled for release on Friday.

At 6:33 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis <1YMcv1> were up 219 points, or 0.79%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 29.5 points, or 0.88% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 146.25 points, or 1.28%.

Boeing Co (N:BA) rose 2.7% a day after Federal Aviation Administration Chief Steve Dickson conducted a 737 MAX test flight, a milestone for the jet to win approval to resume flying after two fatal crashes.

PepsiCo Inc (O:PEP) gained 2.2% after it forecast full-year profit above estimates as consumers bought more of its snacks such as Doritos and Cheetos, while staying indoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S.-listed shares of French-Italian chipmaker STMicroelectronics (N:STM) jumped 6.4% after it saw a sharp rise in automotive and microcontrollers demand in the third quarter, setting it on course to top its 2020 forecast.

Tech mega-caps including Apple Inc (O:AAPL), Nvidia Corp (O:NVDA), Microsoft Corp (O:MSFT) and Alphabet Inc (O:GOOGL) rose between 1.3% and 2.4%.