Futures firm after tax hike proposal, business activity data eyed

FILE PHOTO: The front facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen in New York, U.S., February 16, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Friday as investors awaited business activity data to gauge the pace of economic recovery, a day after reports that President Joe Biden planned to almost double the capital gains tax spooked markets.

Wall Street’s main indexes sank nearly 1% in the previous session following reports of the plan to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, including the largest-ever increase in levies on investment gains.

The benchmark S&P 500 and the blue-chip Dow are on course for weekly declines, after four straight weeks of gains.

With the first-quarter corporate earnings season under way, focus will be on results from Honeywell International Inc, Schlumberger N.V. and American Express Co.

IHS Markit’s flash reading at 9:45 a.m ET is likely to show business activity in the manufacturing and services sectors improved in April from the prior month.

At 6:35 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 41 points, or 0.12%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 9 points, or 0.22%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 26.5 points, or 0.19%.

Cryptocurrency and blockchain-related stocks including Riot Blockchain and Marathon Digital dropped 6.6% and 7.1% after bitcoin suffered hefty losses on fears plans to raise capital gains taxes would curb investment in digital assets.

Oil companies, mainly Chevron Corp, Marathon Petroleum, Exxon Mobil Corp and Occidental Petroleum, gained between 0.2% and 1.1% as oil prices rose. [O/R]

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