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* UPS gains on higher quarterly adjusted profit
* Exxon posts first annual loss as publicly listed company
* Futures up: Dow 0.81%, S&P 0.85%, Nasdaq 0.86% (Adds comment; updates market prices)
Feb 2 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes were set to open higher on Tuesday, building on the previous session’s momentum, as investors anticipated strong results from Amazon and Google-parent Alphabet while also looking for signs of progress on a pandemic-relief package.
Alphabet, which will report the cost and operating profit of its Google Cloud business for the first time, added 1.3% premarket, while retail behemoth Amazon.com Inc gained 1.2%.
Both the companies, set to report their fourth-quarter earnings after market close, have jumped more than 7% each after strong earnings from rest of the FAANG group last month.
Investors are gauging outlooks from big corporations to justify elevated stock market valuations, at a time when concerns over a raging pandemic and new coronavirus variants have triggered fears of a short-term pullback in markets.
At 8:47 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 245 points, or 0.81%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 32 points, or 0.85%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 113.75 points, or 0.86%.
Market participants also kept a close watch on progress in U.S. stimulus talks. After meeting with Republican senators at the White House on Monday, President Joe Biden appeared poised to push forward with his proposed $1.9 trillion relief plan even if it fails to draw Republican support.
“It’s the new president’s first real test – does he want to be seen as reaching across the aisle, or does he actually want to get things done? The markets will be hoping for the latter,” said Connor Campbell, financial analyst at spreadbetters Spreadex.
The U.S. CDC said 26.02 million people have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, compared with 26.03 million infections, as of Feb. 1.
Wall Street’s fear gauge retreated to near one-week lows as a retail-driven mania for shorted assets showed signs of fizzling out.
The so-called “meme” stocks GameStop Corp, AMC Entertainment and Nokia tumbled between 41.0% and 3.5%, while miners Hecla Mining Co and Coeur Mining Inc tracked a fall in spot silver prices.
Ford Motor Co added 2.7% after the U.S. automaker said it will invest $1.05 billion in its South African manufacturing operations, including upgrades to expand production of its Ranger pickup truck.
Exxon Mobil Corp posted its first annual loss as a public company after the COVID-19 pandemic hammered energy prices and it reduced the value of its shale gas properties by more than $20 billion in the fourth quarter. However, its shares rose 2.0%.
United Parcel Service Inc gained 4.7% after it posted a 26.6% rise in quarterly adjusted profit, as its home delivery volume surged to a record on pandemic-fueled online purchases of holiday gifts and staples.
China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd added 1.2% after it beat Wall Street estimates for third-quarter revenue, as its e-commerce business benefited from a switch to online shopping triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Reporting by Devik Jain and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V and Maju Samuel)