US STOCKS-Futures tick higher on stimulus optimism

Medha Singh
·3-min read

(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)

* Netflix falls on slowing subscriber growth

* Snap Inc surges on jump in user growth

* Abbott rises after profit forecast bump

* Futures up: Dow 0.01%, S&P 0.08%, Nasdaq 0.01% (Adds comment, details; Updates prices)

By Medha Singh

Oct 21 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Wednesday on signs that Washington could be close to agreeing on the next coronavirus aid package to support a fragile economic recovery.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said the Trump administration and House Democrats shared a goal of reaching an agreement in the next 48 hours. The biggest sticking point remained funding for state and local governments, he said, adding that progress has been made toward a deal.

Talks between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will continue on Wednesday. The Trump administration has proposed $1.8 trillion in aid, while Democrats are pushing for $2.2 trillion.

"We could expect talks to go on right until the election on Nov. 3, but it is likely (a deal) will be reached which could send markets on an upward trajectory." said Mihir Kapadia, chief executive officer of Sun Global Investments.

The major U.S. stock indexes have traded in a tight range over the past week as investors track progress over stimulus talks.

Wall Street's fear gauge pushed past 30 points to hit a one-month high as the U.S. election campaign entered its final stretch. Democratic challenger Joe Biden and President Donald Trump will face off in their second and final debate on Thursday night.

The race is closer in the battleground states that are likely to decide the winner of the Nov. 3 election, Reuters/Ipsos polling showed, while national polls put Biden well ahead of Trump.

At 8:32 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 3 points, or 0.01%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 2.75 points, or 0.08%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 1.25 points, or 0.01%.

Netflix Inc kicked off earnings from the Big Tech club, and was down 5.4% premarket after it missed expectations for subscriber growth as streaming competition increased and live sports returned to television.

On the other hand, Snap Inc surged 21.3% after the Snapchat messaging app owner beat user growth and revenue forecasts, as more people signed up to chat with friends and family during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shares of other social media companies Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc rose 2.7% and 5.0%, while image sharing company Pinterest Inc gained 7.8%.

Of the 66 S&P 500 firms that have reported third-quarter results, 86.4% have topped expectations for earnings, according to IBES Refinitiv data.

Abbott Laboratories rose 0.8% after it raised its annual profit forecast.

Electric-car maker Tesla Inc edged 0.4% lower as investors geared up for its quarterly report after the closing bell. (Reporting by Medha Singh and Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)