Stock Futures Rise After Proposed Debt-Limit Extension – The Wall Street Journal

U.S. stock futures rose after Republicans offered a short-term debt-limit extension, helping stave off immediate concerns about a possible government default.

Futures for the S&P 500 gained 0.5% Thursday, indicating that the broad market index will rise after a choppy week of trading. Contracts for the tech-focused Nasdaq-100 lifted 0.9% and futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.3%.

Concerns over whether the Treasury would be able to raise money to pay its bills have weighed on investors this week, alongside soaring energy prices and a general shift higher in government bond yields. The Republican proposal would extend the debt ceiling into December, provided that Democrats affix a dollar amount to the debt level. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned that her department is likely to exhaust its cash-conservation measures by Oct. 18 if Congress doesn’t act.

“Right now, there are loads of fears out there. It just takes a couple of positive developments and suddenly that picture changes. Last night, we had positive news on the debt ceiling,” said Lewis Grant, an equities portfolio manager at Federated Hermes.

In bond markets, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note ticked down to 1.517% Thursday from 1.524% Wednesday. Yields and prices move inversely. 

Futures for Brent crude, the benchmark in international energy markets, fell 1.6% to $79.76 a barrel. Futures for gas to be delivered in the Netherlands—the European benchmark—fell 20% to 87.33 euros, equivalent to about $100.94, a megawatt-hour in volatile trading. This came after Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Moscow was ready to work on stabilizing the global energy market, causing a sudden reversal in natural gas prices, which had earlier soared to their highest level on record.

Meantime, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 index jumped 1.1%, with gains led by the basic resources and auto sectors.

Indexes in Asia also closed higher. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 3.1%, led by gains in technology companies. Shares of Chinese Estates (Holdings) rose 32% in Hong Kong on Thursday after its majority shareholders offered to take the company private. The group is a major shareholder of embattled property giant China Evergrande Group.

South Korea’s Kospi rallied 1.8%. The Nikkei 225 added 0.5%.

Fresh figures on the number of Americans who applied for first-time unemployment benefits in the week ended Oct. 2 are due out at 8:30 a.m. Jobless claims rose for three straight weeks in September, but economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect weekly claims to have edged lower.

Concerns over whether the Treasury will be able to raise money have weighed on investors.

Photo: brendan mcdermid/Reuters

Write to Caitlin Ostroff at caitlin.ostroff@wsj.com

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