Futures edge higher on hopes of debt deal

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Friday on optimism that a deal to avoid a catastrophic U.S. debt default could be reached over the weekend.

At 5:46 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 32 points, or 0.1%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 5.5 points, or 0.13%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 20 points, or 0.14%.


S&P 500 futures hit a 15-week high in early trading, while Nasdaq e-minis breached levels not seen in nine months.

The positive momentum carried through for much of the week as investors tracked progress in talks between top U.S. lawmakers for an agreement on increasing the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling.

President Joe Biden and Republican U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy have voiced growing confidence about striking a deal soon, although they could be tripped up by last-minute opposition from the hardline House Freedom Caucus.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is expected to speak at an economic forum later in the day, a panel discussion that will be scrutinized for any further clues on the path of U.S. monetary policy. Former chair Ben Bernanke is also expected to participate in the panel.

Regional banks showed signs of steadying after wild swings in the recent few weeks, with the KBW Regional Banking index up 8.5% for the week, set to mark its best performance since early January last year.

The benchmark S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq were set for their best weekly performance since late March amid positive debt ceiling talks, less-than-feared earnings and economic data.

Among early movers, Walt Disney Co shares dipped 0.6% in premarket trading. A report said the company would take down shows from its streaming service, while it said it was also scrapping plans to build a nearly $1 billion corporate campus in Florida.

(Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)