July 31, 2020 / 10:39 AM / 4 days ago

US STOCKS-Nasdaq futures jump as Big Tech booms during pandemic

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* Futures up: Dow 0.09%, S&P 0.15%, Nasdaq 0.83%

By Medha Singh and Devik Jain

July 31 (Reuters) - Futures tracking the Nasdaq 100 index jumped nearly 1% on Friday as tech titans Apple, Amazon.com and Facebook managed to deliver impressive quarterly earnings despite the COVID-19 pandemic that has crushed the wider U.S. economy.

Apple Inc surged 6% in premarket trading, setting the stock on course to open at a record high, as it delivered year-on-year revenue gains across every category and in every geography.

Amazon.com Inc jumped 5.4% after posting the biggest profit in its 26-year history, while Facebook Inc gained 6% as it reported better-than-expected revenue.

Trading in Alphabet Inc was more subdued as quarterly sales fell for the first time in its 16 years as a public company.

A surge in the stock price of the four companies, which make up nearly a fifth of the S&P 500’s value, as well as aggressive fiscal and monetary stimulus have sent the tech-heavy Nasdaq to record highs and set the S&P 500 on course for its fourth straight monthly gain.

The benchmark index is now about 4% shy of its February all-time high, but faltering macroeconomic data and rising COVID-19 cases are making investors cautious again.

Figures on Thursday confirmed the sharpest contraction in U.S. gross domestic product since the Great Depression, while rising jobless weekly claims suggested a nascent recovery in the labor market was stalling.

Investors betting on more U.S. government stimulus, before an extra $600-per-week federal jobless benefit expires on Friday, have also been disappointed as the Senate adjourned for the weekend and will return on Monday.

On the economic front, core personal consumption expenditures data, the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, is likely to have edged higher by 0.2% in June. The report is due at 8:30 a.m. ET.

At 6:13 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 23 points, or 0.09%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 4.75 points, or 0.15% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 90 points, or 0.83%.

Ford Motor Co rose 2.7% after signaling ample cash-on-hand for the year even as it forecast a full-year loss.

Drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc fell 3.5% as it posted worse-than-expected quarterly results, hurt by weak sales of its hepatitis C drugs and flagship HIV treatments. (Reporting by Medha Singh and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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