August 13, 2021

By Devik Jain

(Reuters) -The Dow and the S&P 500 were set to open at record highs on Friday after Walt Disney’s forecast-beating results, while signs of cooling inflation and a strong recovery in corporate earnings kept the indexes on track for a second straight week of gains.

Disney jumped 4.6% in premarket trading after it topped Wall Street expectations for quarterly earnings as its streaming services picked up more customers than expected and pandemic-hit U.S. theme parks returned to profitability.

Airbnb Inc slipped 2.7% after it flagged a hit to its current-quarter bookings by the Delta variant of the coronavirus and a slowing pace of U.S. vaccination.

A stellar earnings season, improving economic data and the Senate’s passage of a large infrastructure bill have all reinforced investors’ belief in the economic recovery, pushing U.S. stocks to all-time highs in the past few sessions.

Concerns over higher inflation and a sooner-than-anticipated policy tapering by the Federal Reserve also ebbed after data earlier this week showed the pace of increase in U.S. consumer prices slowed in July even as producer prices posted their biggest annual increase in more than a decade.

“What we know about inflation at this point is that it remains relatively high, but it doesn’t appear to be getting a lot worse at the moment,” said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab.

“High inflation is not always a bad thing if it’s accompanied by strong economic growth and right now it is just indicative that the economy is doing very well.”

Investors are looking ahead to the minutes of the Fed’s latest policy meeting, due next week, and the annual meeting of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, later in August for fresh cues on policy.

At 8:22 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 56 points, or 0.16%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 2.5 points, or 0.06%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 11.25 points, or 0.07%.

So far this week, the Dow and the S&P 500 have risen 0.8% and 0.5% respectively, boosted by gains in economically sensitive stocks.

DoorDash Inc slid 4.5% after the food-delivery firm’s loss widened more than expected in the second quarter as it spent heavily to expand internationally and into a crowded market for grocery during the pandemic.

Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc gained 0.4% and 2.1% respectively, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a booster dose of their COVID-19 vaccines for people with compromised immune systems.

U.S.-listed shares of Pfizer’s partner BioNTech were up 2.9%.

Activision Blizzard Inc rose 1.5% after Citigroup upgrade the video game publisher’s stock to “buy” from “neutral”.

(Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)