Wall Street set to hit record highs at open on stimulus bets

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(Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes were set to hit record highs at the open on Monday, as investors made risky bets on hopes that a fiscal relief package would lead to a speedy economic recovery.

Oil prices rose to their highest in more than a year, lifting Marathon Oil Corp (NYSE:MRO), Schlumberger NV (NYSE:SLB), Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:XOM), Chevron Corp (NYSE:CVX) and Occidental Petroleum Corp (NYSE:OXY) between 1% and 1.9% premarket.

Last week, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq logged their best weekly performance since the U.S. elections in early November, on upbeat earnings and economic data.

Sentiment was also boosted by U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s comment on Sunday that if Congress approves the $1.9 trillion plan, the country would get back to full employment next year.

The U.S. Congress on Friday approved a budget plan that would allow a coronavirus relief bill to muscle through in the coming weeks without Republican support.

“There’s increasing odd of much closer to the $1.9 trillion stimulus getting passed than a lower number,” said Jim Besaw, chief investment officer at GenTrust in Florida.

“There might be a potential pullback after a stimulus package is unloaded – buy the rumor sell the fact.”

Progress in vaccination efforts and upbeat fourth-quarter earnings have helped investor shrug off fears of a short-term pullback in stocks due to lofty valuations and increasing coronavirus infections.

Bitcoin surged more than 10% to a record high after Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Inc said it had invested around $1.5 billion in the cryptocurrency and would begin accepting payment in bitcoins for its cars and other products. Tesla shares rose about 2%, while cryptocurrency miner Riot Blockchain (NASDAQ:RIOT) and Marathon Patent Group surged over 20% each.

At 08:33 a.m. E.T., Dow E-minis were up 140 points, or 0.45% and S&P 500 E-minis were up 14.25 points, or 0.37%. Nasdaq 100 E-minis were up 56 points, or 0.41%.

Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) Co, Cisco Systems Inc (NASDAQ:CSCO) and General Motors Co (NYSE:GM) were up between 1.6% and 2.8% ahead of their earnings reports this week.

S&P 500 companies were now on track to post earnings growth for the fourth quarter as opposed to a prior forecast of decline, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Hasbro Inc (NASDAQ:HAS) rose 2.2% after the toymaker beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly revenue on higher demand for its board games and “Magic: The Gathering” collectible cards.