Futures edge higher ahead of retails sales data By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The New York Stock Exchange is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 16, 2021. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

By Devik Jain

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Friday, with investors piling on economically sensitive energy, banks and travel stocks ahead of key retail sales data that would shed light on the strength of the economic recovery.

The Commerce Department’s report, due at 8:30 a.m. ET, is expected to show U.S. retail sales rose marginally in June after dropping 1.3% in May.

Markets have largely cheered a steady recovery in the labor market this year, but concerns about higher inflation due to a faster-than-expected rebound has hurt sentiment, with investors oscillating between “value” and tech-heavy “growth” names in the past few sessions.

Rate-sensitive lenders Citigroup Inc (NYSE:), JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:), Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:) and Bank of America Corp (NYSE:) rose between 0.2% and 0.3%, tracking a rise in benchmark . [US/]

Oil stocks Chevron Corp (NYSE:), Diamondback (NASDAQ:) Energy Inc, Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:), Halliburton (NYSE:) Co, Schlumberger NV (NYSE:) and Occidental Petroleum Corp (NYSE:) gained between 0.7% and 0.9%.

However, the S&P 500 energy sector index has declined 5% so far this week and is the top loser among the 11 major sectors, followed by consumer discretionary and materials.

On the other hand, defensives utilities, real estate and consumer staples were the top gaining sectors, as a spike in coronavirus cases, led by the new Delta variant across the globe, reignited worries about a delay in the economic recovery.

Los Angeles County will reimpose its mask mandate this weekend in the latest sign that public health officials are struggling with a rise in cases to worrisome levels in many parts of the United States.

At 6:41 a.m. ET, were up 15 points, or 0.04%, were up 2.75 points, or 0.06%, and were up 18 points, or 0.12%.

Moderna (NASDAQ:) Inc jumped 7.8% after S&P Dow Jones Indices said the drugmaker will join the as of the start of trading on July 21, replacing Alexion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:).

Shares of Alexion edged 0.4% higher.

Didi Global Inc slid 6.3% as China sent state officials from at least seven departments to the ride-hailing giant for a cybersecurity review.

Intel Corp (NASDAQ:) added 0.9% after a media report the chipmaker is in talks to buy semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries Inc for about $30 billion.

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