S&P, Nasdaq futures hit record high on easing taper fears

Wall Street's main indexes have consistently hit record highs this month

The Nasdaq logo is displayed at the Nasdaq Market site in New York, U.S., May 2, 2019.

The Nasdaq logo is displayed at the Nasdaq Market site in New York, U.S., May 2, 2019.

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were set to hit all-time highs on Monday as dovish remarks from the Federal Reserve last week bolstered optimism in an economic rebound and eased fears of a sudden tapering in monetary stimulus.

Technology-related stocks including Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Amazon.com, Google-owner Alphabet Inc and Tesla Inc were among the biggest gainers in premarket trading.

The benchmark S&P 500 is tracking its longest monthly winning streak since 2018 on the promise of easy money, with investors shrugging off signs of a slowing economic recovery and surging COVID-19 cases.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said on Friday the central bank would continue to be cautious in its approach to tapering its massive pandemic-era stimulus, while reaffirming a steady economic recovery. 

"Investors feel that a low interest-rate regime is a go-signal to remain invested in equities and are more interested in being a part of this dramatic rise rather than be in fear of the market falling," said Rick Meckler, partner at Cherry Lane Investments in New Vernon, New Jersey.

The S&P 500 has risen 2.6% so far in August - a seasonally weak period for stocks - and Wells Fargo analysts said last week they expect the index to rise another 8% by the end of the year. 

All eyes this week will be on the Labor Department's monthly jobs report, which could set the stage for the Fed's Sept. 21-22 policy meeting.

At 8:54 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 18 points, or 0.05%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 5.25 points, or 0.12%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 23.25 points, or 0.15%.

Economically sensitive energy stocks shrugged off a slip in oil prices, with Chevron Corp, Exxon Mobil and Halliburton rising between 0.5% and 1.1% after leading sectoral gains last week. 

U.S.-listed shares of Chinese gaming firm NetEase Inc slumped 8.6% as Chinese regulators slashed the amount of time players under the age of 18 can spend on online games to an hour on Fridays, weekends and holidays. 

Shares of satellite transporter startup Astra Space Inc plummeted 21.2% after the test launch of its rocket LV0006 ended prematurely about two-and-a-half minutes after liftoff. 

Moderna MRNA.O dropped 2.4% as Japan temporarily suspended another one million doses of the drugmaker's COVID-19 vaccine. 

(Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur) ((Shashank.Nayar@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6182 2256;))

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