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By Peter Nurse – U.S. stocks are set to edge lower Friday, consolidating at the end of a record-breaking week with investors focusing on the race for the White House.

At 07:15 AM ET (1115 GMT), S&P 500 Futures traded 5 points, or 0.2%, higher, the Dow Futures contract fell 37 points, or 0.1%, while Nasdaq 100 Futures dropped 11 points, or 0.1%.

Earlier this week, the S&P 500 cash index broke above its late-February high and notched a fresh all-time high, while the Nasdaq Composite registered its 35th record close this year on Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has underperformed and is lower so far this week.

U.S. stocks have been on an upward path since late March, when the Federal Reserve announced a slew of unprecedented economic support measures, buttressed by extraordinary levels of fiscal support in the form of unemployment spending and tax relief.

Sentiment has been kept in check this week, however, by mixed economic data and a warning from the Federal Reserve. Meanwhile, the political unity behind the first wave of stimulus measures has vanished, with Democrats and Republicans deadlocked on how much stimulus to extend over the rest of the year.

Initial weekly jobless claims came in above one million on Thursday, an uptick from the 971,000 claims reported last week, but continuing claims decreased by more than 600,000.

Also the Fed’s minutes from its July meeting showed the central bank’s staff lowering their estimate for economic growth over the second half of the year.

The key data release Friday will be existing home sales data, at 10 AM ET (1400 GMT), with sales having been strong in recent months.

That said, ranges may be tight with U.S. policymakers focusing on the upcoming presidential election to the detriment of an agreement on new virus relief measures.

On Thursday, Joe Biden accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for the November election, and President Donald Trump has his time in the sun next week when Republicans hold their virtual convention.

The earnings season is coming to an end, but there are still some numbers to keep an eye on. Deere & Company (NYSE:DE) reported strong fiscal third-quarter numbers, while Foot Locker (NYSE:FL) reported a comparable store sales increase of approximately 18% for the second quarter.

Oil prices weakened Friday, after an internal report from the major producing states flagged demand concerns for the market.

An internal report by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, a group known as OPEC+, showed they expected oil demand in 2020 to fall by 9.1 million barrels per day, 100,000 bpd more than in its previous forecast, and by 11.2 million barrels if a Covid-19 second wave occurs globally in the second half of the year.

U.S. crude futures traded 1.3% lower at $42.27 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent contract fell 1.3% to $44.30.

Elsewhere, gold futures fell 0.5% to $1,936.55/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.6% lower at 1.1795.

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