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Stock Futures Point to Fresh S&P 500 Record

06/11/2021 | 04:58am EDT

By Caitlin Ostroff

U.S. stock futures edged higher Friday, pointing to the S&P 500 notching a fresh record following three straight week of gains.

Futures tied to the S&P 500 ticked up 0.2% a day after the market benchmark closed at an all-time high. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures also advanced 0.2% Friday.

Contracts tied to the Nasdaq-100 gained 0.2% Friday, suggesting a muted advance in large technology stocks at the market open. The gauge is on track to close out a fourth week of gains.

The major indexes are hovering close to all-time highs, leaving investors looking for any catalysts that may propel the next leg in what has been a sharp rally since the March 2020 rout. Fresh spending plans by the Biden administration that could result in higher taxes, as well as stocks' high valuations and the emergence of new Covid-19 variants, are making people more cautious. Money managers are also weighing whether the rise in inflation is likely to be transitory.

"We're still positive on the outlook, but we're not as optimistic as we were three months ago," said Daniel Morris, chief market strategist at BNP Paribas Asset Management. "The market needs to take a breather and let earnings catch up to where prices are."

In bond markets, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note ticked down for a fourth consecutive day to 1.440%, from 1.458% Thursday, which was its lowest since March 2. Yields fall when prices rise, and have been dragged down in recent days by tepid economic data and high demand from investors both in the U.S. and elsewhere.

The Labor Department on Thursday said the U.S. economic rebound is driving the biggest surge in inflation in nearly 13 years, with consumer prices rising in May by 5% from a year ago. Investors have been concerned for some weeks that a sharp and sustained rise in inflation may prompt the Fed to weigh ending its easy money policies in coming quarters. More recently, the market's inflation expectations have abated, but it remains a focus point for many people.

"Inflation clearly is the big risk out there," said Edward Park, chief investment officer at U.K. investment firm Brooks Macdonald. "Some of the teeth have been softened over the last 24 hours, but there is still the risk that the Fed comes out and says maybe this is more sustained, and that changes the narrative, so central banks are still very much a thing to watch."

Investors will get fresh data indicating whether Americans' outlook for the economy has improved when the University of Michigan's preliminary index of consumer sentiment for this month is released at 10 a.m. ET.

Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.5% after closing Thursday at an all-time high.

Major stock indexes in Asia closed on a mixed note. The Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.6%. South Korea's Kospi Index rose 0.8%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added almost 0.4%.

Write to Caitlin Ostroff at caitlin.ostroff@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

06-11-21 0658ET

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