Futures edge higher with focus on stimulus talks

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures ticked higher on Wednesday as investors held out for a bipartisan agreement over the next coronavirus aid package to support a fragile economy recovery.

FILE PHOTO: The front facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen in New York City, New York, U.S., June 26, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The White House and Democrats in the U.S. Congress made progress in talks over the relief deal on Tuesday although a timeline of when the bill could be passed was not clear.

The Trump administration has proposed $1.8 trillion in aid, while Democrats are pushing for $2.2 trillion.

Wall Street’s fear gauge .VIX 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 6:13 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were down 6 points, or 0.02%, S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up 2.25 points, or 0.07%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 12.75 points, or 0.11%.

Netflix Inc NFLX.O kicked off earnings from the Big Tech club, and was down 5.2% premarket after it missed expectations for subscriber growth as streaming competition increased and live sports returned to television.

On the other hand, Snap Inc SNAP.N surged 24.4% 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 FB.O and Twitter Inc TWTR.N rose 2.6% and 5.7%, while image sharing company Pinterest Inc PINS.N gained 6.7%.

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.

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