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Futures rise on optimism around easing of lockdowns

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U.S. stock index futures rose on Wednesday as investors turned hopeful of a pickup in business activity with several countries and U.S. states relaxing coronavirus-induced curbs.

FILE PHOTO: The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen in the financial district of lower Manhattan during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, U.S., April 26, 2020. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

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REUTERS: U.S. stock index futures rose on Wednesday as investors turned hopeful of a pickup in business activity with several countries and U.S. states relaxing coronavirus-induced curbs.

After plunging to 2016-lows in March as the sweeping lockdown measures crushed supply chains and consumer demand, the benchmark S&P 500 rebounded strongly in April on unprecedented stimulus and signs the outbreak was peaking.

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But with data still foreshadowing a severe economic slump and millions of Americans out of work, analysts have warned of another selloff, particularly if reopening economies sparks another wave of infections.

"For now, markets appear to be pricing in the prospect that economic activity can improve from here on in, and while that may well be true, we still don't know the extent of the economic damage that has been done already," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

The ADP National Employment Report is expected to provide another glimpse of the hit to the labor market later on Wednesday, followed by the Labor Department's more comprehensive nonfarm payrolls data due Friday.

In early premarket trading, Activision Blizzard , jumped 5.4per cent after raising its revenue forecast on higher demand for video games such as its "Call of Duty" amid lockdowns.

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