By Peter Nurse – U.S. stocks are seen edging higher Friday, continuing the previous session’s positive tone, boosted by strong numbers from retail giant Nike (NYSE:NKE) and agreement over an infrastructure package and ahead of key inflation data. 

At 7 AM ET (1100 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was up 115 points, or 0.3%, S&P 500 Futures traded 6 points, or 0.1%, higher, and Nasdaq 100 Futures climbed 27 points, or 0.2%.

The main equity indices surged Thursday, with the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average climbing over 300 points, or nearly 1%, the broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.6%, to a record high, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 0.7%, also another record high. All three indices are on course to post gains of over 2% this week.

Helping the tone was an announcement from President Joe Biden of a new deal on infrastructure, paving the way for fresh investment in roads, bridges and broadband internet. 

Biden’s bipartisan preliminary agreement is valued at $1.2 trillion over eight years, $579 billion of which is new spending, a lot lower than his original $2 trillion proposal. It also doesn’t include some of the more ambitious spending plans that particularly irked Republicans.

Also helping were strong results from sportswear retailer Nike after the close Thursday. The company posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings and revenue, and also forecast fiscal 2022 revenue would top $50 billion for the first time.

A busy week for Fedspeak comes to a close, with both Cleveland President Loretta Mester and Boston President Eric Rosengren set to make appearances. Ahead of their comments comes the release of the Fed’s preferred gauge of inflation, the core personal consumption expenditures price index, at 8:30 AM ET (1230 GMT).

This is expected to show year-on-year gains of 3.4% in May, climbing from the 3.1% recorded the previous month, and way above the Fed’s nominal target of 2%.

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Also due for release is the Michigan consumer sentiment index, 90 minutes later, and this is expected to climb to 86.4 in June, up from 82.9 the previous month.

Crude oil prices edged lower Friday, but are still heading for a fifth consecutive positive week ahead of next week’s meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC. 

By 7 AM ET, U.S. crude was down 0.2% at $73.14 a barrel, while Brent was 0.2% lower at $75.41, with both contracts up over 2% so far this week and around 50% higher year-to-date. 

The latest weekly update from Baker Hughes of the number of U.S. oil rigs will be studied carefully, particularly with high crude prices making it more commercially viable for shale producers to reenter the market.

Additionally, the CFTC will release its weekly commitments of traders report, a guide on how the market is positioned.


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