Washington: Wall Street climbed on Friday ahead of new data on US jobs after a rough week for banks that have been caught up in the Fed’s fight against inflation.
Futures for the Dow Jones industrials rose 0.5 per cent before the bell and the S and P 500 edged 0.7 per cent higher.
Regional banks that saw huge declines in their share price Thursday are rebounding in premarket trading. PacWest Bancorp, whose shares lost half their value on Thursday, rose close to 20 per cent before the bell Friday. Western Alliance Bancorp rose 13per cent in premarket after a 38per cent plunge Thursday.
The financial sector is the strongest component on the S and P 500 in early trading. Still, the S and P MidCap 400 Banks Index is down 14 per cent for the week after the collapse of First Republic Bank on Monday.
Los Angeles-based PacWest Bancorp said it’s selling assets and has been approached by potential partners and investors.
Regulators seized First Republic and sold most of it to JPMorgan Chase and shares of financial institutions slid despite assurances from government and industry officials that the banking system is sound.
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April employment numbers likely to show a slowdown in job growth
The US government will report April employment numbers that are expected to show a slowdown in job growth. The red-hot jobs market is one of the reasons that the fed has ratcheted up interest rates in a bid to cool the economy and inflation. “We estimate a slowdown in net job growth and tick up in the unemployment rate,” said Rubeela Farooqi of High-Frequency Economics in a report.
Traders foresee at least a brief US recession this year. They expect the Fed to start cutting rates in the second half of the year to prop up economic growth, though chair Jerome Powell said this week he doesn’t see cuts coming so early.
A report Thursday showed the number of US workers filing for unemployment last week accelerated a bit more than expected.
What’s the Fed’s indication
The Fed indicated Wednesday it might be finished with rate hikes for now, but the president of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, on Thursday said, “we are not pausing.” The ECB announced another rate hike but by a smaller margin of one-quarter percentage point.
On Thursday, the S and P 500 index lost 0.7 per cent as investors worried about the health of banks following three high-profile failures in the United States and one in Switzerland. The Dow dropped 0.9per cent and the Nasdaq fell 0.5 per cent. Investors want to know steps authorities might take to “limit further contagion risks,” Yeap Jun Rong of IG said in a report.
“Any inaction over the weekend could translate to a more downbeat risk environment to start next week.”
Rate hikes by the Fed and other central banks in Europe and Asia have put pressure on banks by causing the market prices of bonds on their books to decline.
Investors worry depositors might pull money out of lenders that are thought to be troubled, worsening their financial pressures.
On Wednesday, the Fed raised its key overnight rate to a range of 5 per cent to 5.25 per cent from close to zero early last year. Helping to support stocks despite all the anxiety over banks and a possible recession has been a largely better-than-feared earnings reporting season. Companies in the S and P 500 are still on track to report a second straight quarter of profit drops, but the results have mostly been better than expected.
Europe’s stock market
At midday in Europe, the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.6 per cent, the DAX in Frankfurt gained 0.9 per cent and the CAC 40 in Paris added 0.6 per cent.
In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.5 per cent to 3,334.50 while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.5per cent to 20,049.31. Sydney’s S and P-ASX 200 rose 0.4 per cent to 7,220.00.
India’s Sensex sank 0.8per cent to 61,261.70. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets declined. In energy markets, benchmark US crude rose USD 2.15 to USD 70.71 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The contract fell 4 cents on Thursday to USD 68.56. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, added USD2.08 to USD 74.58 per barrel in London. It advanced 17 cents the previous session to USD 72.50. The dollar inched up to 134.25 yen from Thursday’s 134.14 yen. The euro slipped to USD 1.1010 from USD 1.1016. (AP) FZH
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