Market Snapshot: U.S. stocks poised for upbeat session as bank earnings steal center stage

U.S. stocks were set for another day in positive territory, heading towards solid weekly gains as traders geared up for a batch of prominent bank earnings and put the trade dispute between the U.S. and China on the back burner for now.

What are markets doing?

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMU8, +0.02%  rose 66 points, or 0.3%, to 24,959, while those for the S&P 500 index ESU8, +0.01%  climbed 4.75 points, or 0.2%, to 2,803.25. Futures for the Nasdaq-100 index NQU8, +0.06%  added 23.50 points, or 0.3%, to 7,406.50.

The gains come after an upbeat session on Thursday, when the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +1.39%  rallied 1.4% to score its first record close since June 20. The Dow DJIA, +0.91%  and the S&P 500 both ended the session 0.9% higher.

As of Thursday’s close, all three benchmarks were set for solid weekly gains, with the S&P on track for a 1.4% advance, the Nasdaq eyeing a 1.8% rally and the Dow set for a 1.9% rise for the week.

What is driving the market?

Traders appeared to be picking up where they left off on Thursday, when markets rallied on signs that Washington and Beijing are willing to resume trade talks, which could end in a bilateral agreement and avoid a trade war.

Trade was still in focus on Friday, but investors diverted their attention to the second-quarter earnings season that is due to kick off in earnest before the bell. Major banks JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPM, +0.43%  , Citigroup Inc. C, +0.88%  and Wells Fargo & Co. WFC, -0.07%  are scheduled to report results, which could help set the tone for the reporting season.

Read: Bank earnings are expected to shine, but their stocks may not

On the political front, U.S. President Donald Trump was set to meet Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II on Friday. The president arrived in the U.K. on Thursday and in a bombshell interview with the Sun newspaper criticized British Prime Minister Theresa May. Trump said May’s plans for a “soft” Brexit would “kill” any potential trade deal between the U.S. and the U.K.

Crowds were gathering in London on Friday morning to hold protests, including a march and rally, against the president’s visit to the U.K.

What are analysts saying?

“With U.S. earning season starting and expectations running high, traders have effortlessly switched their focus back onto fundamental drivers of the market and away from political headlines. The robust U.S. economy, high consumer confidence and low borrowing rates provide a solid backdrop for some impressive figures, and that is before we draw in the benefits of the Trumps tax cuts,” said Jasper Lawler, head of research at London Capital Group, in a note.

Stock movers

Shares of Johnson & Johnson JNJ, +1.20%  dropped 2.2% ahead of the bell after the pharma company late Thursday was ordered to pay $4.69 billion in damages in a lawsuit linking baby powder to cancer.

AT&T Inc. T, +1.13%  declined 1.6% before Friday’s open after the Department of Justice late Thursday filed for an appeal of a ruling allowing the telecoms major to acquire Time Warner Inc.

What are other markets doing?

Asian stock markets closed mainly higher, but with the Shanghai Composite Index SHCOMP, -0.23%  ended lower after data showed Chinese imports grew less than expected in June. In Europe, equities were also on the rise and heading for weekly advances.

Crude oil prices CLQ8, -0.38%  fell 0.4% to $70.07 a barrel, while gold GCQ8, -0.44%  dropped 0.5% to $1,240.70 an ounce. The ICE Dollar Index DXY, +0.34%  climbed 0.4% to 95.194.

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