US STOCKS-Futures near record highs as stimulus hopes build


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    * Futures: Dow and Nasdaq up about 0.4%, S&P rises 0.3%

    By Shriya Ramakrishnan
    Dec 4 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures held near
all-time highs on Friday as growing prospects for further
economic stimulus and continued optimism over a COVID-19
vaccine-driven economic recovery lifted sentiment. 
    A bipartisan, $908 billion coronavirus aid plan gained
momentum in the U.S. Congress on Thursday, after a months-long
standoff between Republicans and Democrats over a stimulus
package for businesses and millions of people affected by
virus-led shutdowns.*:nL1N2IJ1J5
     A Labor Department's closely watched report, expected at
8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT), is likely to show U.S. employers hired
the fewest workers in six months in November, hindered by a
resurgence in COVID-19 cases and a lack of more government
relief money.*:nL1N2IJ292
    The unemployment rate is estimated to dip to 6.8% in
November from 6.9% last month. 
    So far positive vaccine updates from major drugmakers have
eclipsed bleak economic readings and a surge in infections,
setting the Wall Street's main indexes for another week of gains
after the benchmark S&P 500  .SPX  clocked its best November.
    Growing confidence that a working COVID-19 vaccine would be
administered before the end of the year has revived demand for
the hardest-hit airlines and tourism stocks.
     Shares of U.S. carriers and cruise lines including American
Airlines  AAL.O , Norwegian Cruise Line  NCLH.N  and Carnival
Corp  CCL.N  were up between 2% and 3.3% in premarket trade. 
    At 06:25 a.m. ET, Dow E-minis  1YMcv1  were up 120 points,
or 0.4%, and S&P 500 E-minis  EScv1  were up 11.25 points, or
0.31%. Nasdaq 100 E-minis  NQcv1  were up 44.75 points, or
    Drugmaker Pfizer  PFE.N  fell 0.8%, extending declines from
the previous session when it flagged challenges in supply chain
for raw materials used in its COVID-19 vaccine.        
    Oil majors Exxon Mobil Corp  XOM.N  and Chevron Corp  CVX.N 
rose about 1.5% each, boosted by a rise in crude prices as major
producers agreed on a compromise on supply.  O/R 

 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan and Medha Singh in Bengaluru;
Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)
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