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Stock futures rise slightly after S&P 500 posts best week of the year

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U.S. stock index futures turned slightly positive in early morning trading on Monday after the S&P posted its best week of 2022, boosted by quarterly earnings reports and a better-than-expected January employment report.

Futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 57 points, or about 0.2%. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures ticked up roughly 0.3% and 0.4%, respectively.

Investors will be watching more earnings reports this week, though the blistering pace of the past few weeks will slow.

Big inflation news also is on the horizon, with the Labor Department on Thursday set to release consumer price index data for January. The report is expected to show that inflation rose at a 7.2% pace from a year ago, which if accurate would be the fastest gain since February 1982.

Markets have been bracing against the fallout from inflation and are now pricing in about a 35% chance that the Federal Reserve will hike its benchmark short-term borrowing rate by half a percentage point, or 50 basis points, in March.

Government bond yields were little changed Monday after racing higher following Friday’s unexpectedly strong nonfarm payrolls report for January. The benchmark 10-year note most recently yielded 1.92%.

Peloton shares surged in premarket trading Monday on reports that Amazon and Nike are lining up as possible suitors for the interactive fitness equipment maker. The stock surged 25% on the news, which comes just a few days after activist investor Blackwells Capital urged the company to consider a sale and to fire its CEO.

Spotify saw its shares decline 1.3% after the company said it condemns past use of racial slurs by controversial podcast host Joe Rogan but would not remove him from the streaming site. Artists including Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and India.Arie have asked Spotify to remove their music in protest over Rogan.

Elsewhere, shares of Spirit Airlines jumped 11% after Frontier Airlines announced a deal to merge with its low-cost competitor. The news appeared to boost sentiment among airlines generally, with shares of United and Delta Air Lines rising nearly 2% premarket.

The S&P and Nasdaq Composite advanced on Friday for their fifth positive session in the last six, and the indices also posted their best week since December. The Dow slid 0.06% on Friday, but still managed to post a 1.05% gain for the week. The Russell 2,000 meantime posted its first positive week in five and best week of 2022.

“Investor psychology is shifting almost week-to-week, meaning sticking to one’s investment convictions is about as hard (or painful) as ever, but also never more important in driving outperformance,” Raymond James strategist Tavis McCourt said in a note to clients. “Our conviction remains that economic strength will keep EPS keeps going higher along with interest rates, as we suspect we remain a long way from higher rates materially slowing demand in the economy.”

Earnings reports and the jobs report pushed the major averages higher. The Labor Department said Friday that 467,000 jobs were added in January, well ahead of the 150,000 economists polled by Dow Jones were expecting.

Last week’s gains follow a rocky start to the year for the major averages as rising rates prompted investors to shed growth names in favor of value-oriented areas of the market.

“It has been a raging bear market for high multiple stocks and for anything speculative in nature. It’s just been taken out to the woodshed. So there’s probably some value being created there now,” Morgan Stanley’s Mike Wilson said on “Squawk Box.” The strategist said he still recommends a tilt toward more defensive areas of the market and thinks the indexes may not have hit a bottom yet.

So far 56% of S&P 500 companies have posted quarterly earnings, with 79% beating earnings estimates and 77% topping revenue expectations.

Individual performance has been different, however. Amazon shares added 13.5% on Friday, while Snap surged 58.8%. Facebook-parent Meta dropped 26% on Thursday after its quarterly update. The social media company is coming off its worst week on record.

Another busy week of earnings is on deck with 76 S&P 500 companies set to post results. Three Dow components will provide quarterly updates, including Disney and Coca-Cola. Amgen, Take-Two Interactive and On Semiconductor are among the names that will report earnings on Monday.

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