Dow futures rise 200 points as stocks look to add to record levels

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Futures contracts tied to the major U.S. stock indexes rose in extended trading Monday evening after finishing strong last week.

Dow futures rose 215 points, suggested an implied open of about the same magnitude, while S&P 500 contracts added 22.5 points, or 0.5%. Nasdaq 100 futures gained 76 points, or 0.5%.

The U.S. stock market was closed on Monday for Presidents Day.

The major averages finished last week with decent gains even as February’s rally appeared to cool off somewhat. The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average posted two little changed days, while the S&P 500 swung within 0.2% for three days in a row.

Still, the S&P 500 finished the week with a gain of 1.2%, while the Dow added 1%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 1.7%. All three closed at record levels on Friday.

Stock strategists say the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine, economic reopening and expectations for more fiscal stimulus are key to the market’s buoyant February thus far.

“Covid is far from defeated, but the path toward economic normalization is clearer as more vaccines that reduce hospitalizations and eliminate fatalities are approved,” Dennis DeBusschere, strategist at Evercore ISI, said in an email.

“Treasury Secretary [Janet] Yellen’s forceful arguments for additional stimulus followed by Fed Chair [Jerome] Powell describing maximum employment as ‘our national goal’ helped lift bond yields, inflation expectations, and oil prices last week,” he added.

The Dow has gained 4.9% in February, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq have rallied 5.9% and 7.8%, respectively. The S&P 500 has raked in ten record closes in 2021.

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