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Futures firm after tax hike proposal, business activity data eyed By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The front facade of the NYSE is seen in New York

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By Shivani Kumaresan

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Friday as investors awaited business activity data to gauge the pace of economic recovery, a day after reports that President Joe Biden planned to almost double the capital gains tax spooked markets.

Wall Street’s main indexes sank nearly 1% in the previous session following reports of the plan to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, including the largest-ever increase in levies on investment gains.

The benchmark and the blue-chip Dow are on course for weekly declines, after four straight weeks of gains.

With the first-quarter corporate earnings season under way, focus will be on results from Honeywell International Inc (NYSE:), Schlumberger (NYSE:) N.V. and American Express Co (NYSE:).

IHS Markit’s flash reading at 9:45 a.m ET is likely to show business activity in the manufacturing and services sectors improved in April from the prior month.

At 6:35 a.m. ET, were up 41 points, or 0.12%, were up 9 points, or 0.22%, and were up 26.5 points, or 0.19%.

Cryptocurrency and blockchain-related stocks including Riot Blockchain (NASDAQ:) and Marathon Digital dropped 6.6% and 7.1% after bitcoin suffered hefty losses on fears plans to raise capital gains taxes would curb investment in digital assets.

Oil companies, mainly Chevron Corp (NYSE:), Marathon Petroleum (NYSE:), Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:) and Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:), gained between 0.2% and 1.1% as oil prices rose. [O/R]

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