Futures contracts, pegged to major U.S. stock indices, were higher on Friday morning as investors poised to end a week on stocks as the White House could seek a capital gains tax hike.
The S&P 500 futures rose 0.2%, while contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial average gained 50 points. Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.2%.
The rebound followed a tumultuous session for stocks after several news outlets reported Thursday afternoon that President Joe Biden is expected to propose much higher capital gains taxes for the wealthy.
Bloomberg News reported that Biden plans to increase capital gains tax up to 43.4% for wealthy Americans.
The proposal would increase the capital gains rate for those earning $ 1 million or more from the current 20% to 39.6%, Bloomberg News said, citing people familiar with the matter. Reuters and the New York Times later also reported similar stories.
“We expect Congress to pass a scaled-down version of this tax hike,” Goldman Sachs chief economist Jan Hatzius wrote in a note. “We expect Congress to agree on a more modest increase, possibly 28%.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 300 points by the end of regular trading on Thursday. At its lowest point, the blue chip benchmark fell by 420 points. The S&P 500 erased previous gains and closed 0.9% lower while the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.9%.
For weeks the S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq have fallen 1.2%, 1.1% and 1.6% respectively.
Before the tax news hit, key averages traded slightly higher as investors sifted through broadly positive corporate earnings and economic data.
Both the chip maker Intel and the social media platform Snap reported profits for the first calendar quarter on Thursday after the closing bell.
Although Intel’s sales and earnings were better than Wall Street expected, earnings forecasts were released in the second quarter that fell short of analysts’ hopes. Intel shares fell 2.8% in premarket trading.
Snap stock rose 5% in premarket trading after seeing accelerated sales growth and strong user numbers in the first quarter. Snap broke even on balance with sales of $ 770 million.
Companies so far have largely managed to beat Wall Street’s predictions for the earnings season. Even so, strong first quarter results have been met with a tepid reaction from investors who have not yet bought shares in companies with some of the best performing.
Strategists say that already high ratings and near record highs for the S&P 500 and Dow have kept traders’ excitement in check. But even after Thursday’s losses, the indices are within 1.5% of their all-time high.
The Department of Labor said Thursday morning that initial unemployment insurance claims totaled 547,000, down from the Dow Jones estimate of 603,000.
Bitcoin tumbled overnight, possibly due in part to concerns about higher capital gains taxes, with the cryptocurrency recently declining about 8%, according to CoinMetrics. Other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum have also been hit. So far, the sell-off there has not been carried over to other risk-weighted assets such as stocks.
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