Stock futures rally 1 percent on debt ceiling deal

By @ibtimes on

Stock index futures surged more than 1 percent on Monday on relief over a deal in Washington to raise the debt ceiling, avoiding an unprecedented default.

* Lawmakers were expected to vote on Monday on the White House-backed agreement, which includes budget cuts of $2.4 trillion. The deal was expected to pass the Democratic-led Senate, but it faces tougher opposition in the U.S. House of Representatives, where both conservative Tea Party supporters and liberal lawmakers have criticized it.

* Even though a default was considered unlikely by many investors, equities grew increasingly volatile as Washington was at a stalemate. Wall Street ended its worst week in a year last week.

* Gold, seen as a safe haven in times of economic uncertainty, fell 0.7 percent following the deal, while U.S. crude oil climbed 1.2 percent.

* Even with a deal, many investors remained concerned about a possible downgrade of the United States' AAA sovereign debt rating. Some analysts said Monday's rally in futures could be short-lived. The FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top shares was up 0.8 percent.

* S&P 500 futures rose 19.5 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures soared 182 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures jumped 28.25 points.

* Humana Inc reported adjusted second-quarter earnings that rose from the prior year and raised its full-year profit view.

* Loews Corp posted quarterly profits below estimates as the U.S. conglomerate was hit by higher catastrophe losses and lower income from its biggest holding, CNA Financial .

* Also, Allstate Corp recorded a second-quarter loss as its catastrophe losses soared 268 percent.

* Economic indicators on tap include June construction spending and July ISM manufacturing data, which is seen edging lower from the previous month. July's non-farm payroll number, due Friday, will also be a focus for investors.

* HSBC Holding Plc reported a surprise first-half profit and said it would cut 30,000 jobs as it retreats from countries where it is struggling to compete. U.S.-listed shares of the bank rose 5 percent to $51.33 in premarket trading.

* Stocks ended their worst week in a year on Friday on the political logjam in Washington over the debt ceiling.

(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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