U.S. stock futures advance after Credit Suisse surges on central bank support

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U.S. stock futures rose on Thursday after the Swiss central bank steeped in to support Credit Suisse, easing tensions across the banking sector.

How are stock-index futures trading
  • S&P 500 futures

    added 11 points, or 0.3%, to 3936

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average futures

    climbed 65 points, or 0.2%, to 32160

  • Nasdaq 100 futures

    rose 59 points, or 0.5%, to 12437

On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average

fell 281 points, or 0.87%, to 31875, the S&P 500

declined 27 points, or 0.7%, to 3892, and the Nasdaq Composite

gained 6 points, or 0.05%, to 11434.

What’s driving markets

A calmer mood across the European banking sector was underpinning sentiment on Thursday.

A record rebound of up to 32% in Credit Suisse shares
after the beleaguered lender secured a $54 billion liquidity backstop from the Swiss central bank, has eased concerns, for now, that recent financial sector ructions will severely damage the global economy.

“For now, the move has restored a little stability to global markets, with the S&P 500 regaining ground [late Wednesday], once it appeared the Swiss National Bank was standing by to help,” said Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“Nerves are still frayed though and that has been evident during trade in Asia. Investors are trying to swim in a sea of red, as worries ripple around about where the next weakness in the global banking sector will rear up,” Streeter added.

Traders have also been worried of late that banking sector instability will compromise central bankers’ attempts to suppress inflation.

That will be put to the test when the European Central Bank will give its latest monetary policy decision. Expectations that the ECB would deliver a 50 basis point increase are now very much in the air just hours ahead of the decision.

Markets have become similarly unsure about whether or by how much the Federal Reserve will raise rates next Wednesday. The volatility in bond markets this is causing — as shown by the ICE BofAML MOVE index surging too its highest since the global financial crisis in 2008 — has triggered great uncertainty among equity investors, too.

Source: Google Finance

Mark Newton, head of technical strategy at Fundstrat, noted that the banking crisis had caused “technical damage” to the stock market, with fresh weakness in discretionary goods, materials and energy sectors as fears have risen about a sharper economic slowdown.

However, relative strength in the technology sector “is one of the few reasons why broader market averages have held up a bit better than what otherwise might have occurred.”

“Yet, in the short run, it continues to be difficult to think stock indices have officially bottomed without proof. QQQ [a Nasdaq 100 ETF] requires a close over 300 and SPX [S&P 500] a close above 3928,” Newton added.

U.S. economic updates set for release on Thursday include the weekly initial jobless claims; the February import price index; housing starts and building permits for February; and the March Philadelphia Fed manufacturing report. All are due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.


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