U.S. stock index futures were flat on Friday as major indexes appeared set to take a breather from a series of strong gains, while anticipation of a coronavirus stimulus package grew ahead of a weekend deadline.
Markets were anticipating increased trading volumes in the day due to the expiration of stock index futures, stock index options, stock options and single stock futures at the end of trade – also known as quadruple witching.
Wall Street’s three major indexes had ended at record highs on Thursday as the passing of a bill seemed imminent, with bipartisan lawmakers saying the pandemic’s worsening toll meant that failure to agree on new stimulus was no longer an option.
Dismal retail sales data and unemployment claims through the week were also seen as furthering the case for more stimulus.
The prospect of continued monetary and fiscal stimulus has helped stocks look past the economic ructions from the virus, and set them up for strong annual gains, despite a rocky start to the year.