Futures gain as more states prepare to ease lockdowns

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures rose on Monday as more states looked set to lift coronavirus-induced curbs, with investors also turning to quarterly earnings reports from marquee companies including Apple and Microsoft later this week.

A late session rally for technology firms had helped Wall Street end higher on Friday, with sentiment also getting a boost from Georgia becoming the first state to ease restrictions despite disapproval from President Donald Trump and health experts.

Many more U.S. states have looked to reopen businesses as the health crisis wreaks havoc on the economy, with the White House forecasting a staggering jump in the nation’s monthly jobless rate.

Although trillions of dollars in stimulus have helped the benchmark S&P 500 recover nearly 30% from its March trough, analysts say further gains might be limited unless there is progress on developing treatments for the deadly disease.

Focus this week will also be on a two-day Federal Reserve meeting ending on Wednesday, although expectations are low for more easing by the central bank.

Meanwhile, about 173 companies in the S&P 500 are scheduled to report quarterly earnings later in the week, including Apple (AAPL.O), Amazon.com (AMZN.O), Microsoft (MSFT.O), Boeing (BA.N), Ford (F.N), General Electric (GE.N) and Chevron (CVX.N).

Overall analysts expect a decline of nearly 15% in first-quarter earnings of S&P 500 companies, with profits for the energy sector estimated to have slumped 68%.

At 06:31 a.m. EDT, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were up 235 points, or 0.99%, S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up 25.75 points, or 0.91% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 102 points, or 1.16%. SPDR S&P 500 ETFs (SPY.P) were up 0.99%.

The S&P 500 index .SPX closed up 1.39% at 2,836.74​ on Friday.

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