The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a higher opening on Friday, with stocks likely to add to the gains posted in the previous session.
The markets are likely to benefit from a positive reaction to earnings news from financial giants JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Citigroup (C), and Wells Fargo (WFC).
JPMorgan, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo all reported first quarter earnings that came in above analyst estimates.
After moving to the upside early in the session, stocks continued to turn in a strong performance throughout the trading day on Thursday. The major averages climbed firmly in positive territory, offsetting the weakness seen in the previous session.
The major averages pulled back off their best levels going into the close but still closed notably higher. The Dow jumped 293.60 points or 1.2 percent to 24,483.05, the Nasdaq surged up 71.22 points or 1 percent to 7,140.25 and the S&P 500 climbed 21.80 points or 0.8 percent to 2,663.99.
The strength on Wall Street came as President Donald Trump sought to downplay concerns about an attack on Syria.
“Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!” Trump said in a post on Twitter.
He added, “In any event, the United States, under my Administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS. Where is our ‘Thank you America?'”
In U.S. economic news, the Labor Department released a report showing first time claims for unemployment benefits decreased in the week ended April 7th.
The report said initial jobless claims fell to 233,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 242,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 230,000.
A separate report released by the Labor Department showed import prices came in unchanged in March, while export prices increased by more than expected.
The Labor Department said import prices recorded no change in March after climbing by 0.3 percent in February. Economists had expected import prices to rise by 0.2 percent.
Meanwhile, the report said export prices increased by 0.3 percent in March after rising by 0.2 percent in the previous month. Export prices had been expected to rise by 0.2 percent.
Banking stocks saw significant strength on the day, with the KBW Bank Index jumping by 2.2 percent.
Considerable strength was also visible among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 1.9 percent gain posted by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index.
Transportation, biotechnology, and computer hardware stocks also saw notable strength, while weakness was visible among gold and utilities stocks.
Commodity, Currency Markets
Crude oil futures are slipping $0.04 to $67.03 a barrel after rising $0.25 to $67.07 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, after plunging $18.10 to $1,341.90 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are dipping $1.60 to $1,340.30 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 107.70 yen compared to the 107.33 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.2320 compared to yesterday’s $1.2327.
Asian stocks turned in a mixed performance on Friday as Chinese trade data proved to be a mixed bag and investors awaited earnings reports from JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo later in the day.
Geopolitical tensions eased somewhat after U.S. President Donald Trump urged caution on an imminent strike against Syria and also tweeted that the U.S. would rejoin the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership trade pact if the deal were substantially better than the one offered to former President Barack Obama.
China’s Shanghai Composite Index dropped 20.77 points or 0.7 percent to 3,159.39, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index edged down 22.90 points or 0.1 percent to 30,808.38.
Data from the General Administration of Customs showed Chinese exports unexpectedly declined in March, but imports grew more-than-expected,
In dollar terms, exports fell 2.7 percent year-over-year in March, confounding economists’ forecast for a notable increase of 11.8 percent. Imports surged up 14.4 percent from a year ago, faster than the expected spike of 12.0 percent.
The trade deficit came in at $4.98 billion in March, in contrast to the expected surplus of $27.5 billion.
Japanese shares closed higher to post a third week of gains as higher U.S. bond yields helped lift financials and exporters also surged on the back of a firmer dollar following Trump’s comments on Syria and rejoining the TPP.
The Nikkei 225 Index climbed 118.46 points or 0.6 percent to 21,778.74, taking the weekly gain to 1 percent. The broader Topix Index closed 0.6 percent higher at 1,729.36.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group rallied 2.5 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial jumped 2 percent on the back of rising U.S. bond yields. Honda Motor gained 1 percent and Panasonic advanced 2.5 percent. Tech stocks also gained ground, with Advantest and TDK Corp climbing 2-3 percent.
Australian shares closed modestly higher amid broad-based gains as fears linked to geopolitical tensions eased. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 13.60 points or 0.2 percent to 5,829.10, while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 0.2 percent at 5,924.70.
Resource stocks outperformed, with Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group rising about 2 percent each.
Banks ANZ, NAB and Westpac fell between 0.2 percent and 0.7 percent, while energy stocks ended on a mixed note. Oil Search rose 0.4 percent and Beach Energy advanced 1.8 percent, but Woodside Petroleum dropped half a percent and Santos lost 1 percent.
European stocks have moved mostly higher on Friday as geopolitical worries faded and the dollar index rose on hopes for improved corporate earnings.
While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has inched up by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.4 percent and the German DAX Index is up by 0.7 percent.
On the economic front, Eurostat reported the euro area trade surplus increased in February as the decline in imports was bigger than the fall in exports. Exports fell 2.3 percent in February from January. At the same time, imports declined 3.1 percent.
Separately, German consumer price inflation accelerated in March, as initially estimated, final data from Destatis showed.
Inflation rose to 1.6 percent in March from 1.4 percent in February. The rate came in line with the flash estimate published on March 29.
Pulp and paper manufacturer Stora Enso has rallied after its first quarter profit beat forecasts. Klepierre shares have also moved notably higher in Paris. The real estate investment trust has decided to drop a bid for U.K. mall owner Hammerson.
German automaker Volkswagen has risen after appointing Herbert Diess as its new CEO.
ArcelorMittal has also advanced after the steelmaker said it had submitted a proposed divestment package to the European Commission as part of the ongoing review into its acquisition of Ilva.
Micro Focus has jumped on a Bloomberg report that hedge fund Elliott Management has taken a stake in the software firm.
Meanwhile, Sage Group has fallen as its first-half organic revenue growth came in below expectations.
U.S. Economic Reports
At 9 am ET, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard is due to speak at Washington University’s Calhoun Lecture Series in St. Louis.
The University of Michigan is scheduled to release its preliminary report on consumer sentiment in the month of April at 10 am ET.
The consumer sentiment index is expected to dip to 100.5 in April after climbing to a fourteen-year high of 101.4 in March.
At 1 pm ET, Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan is due to participate in a moderated Q&A at the Odessa Chamber of Commerce Member Luncheon in Odessa, Texas.
by RTTNews Staff Writer
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