Stock Market

Sentiment boosted by banking support; European stock futures rise

The European stock markets are expected to open higher on Friday, buoyed by moves made in Europe and the United States to support under-pressure lenders, thereby averting a full-blown banking crisis. The DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.4% higher at 03:00 ET (07:00 GMT), while CAC 40 futures in France rose 0.1% and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the UK climbed 0.8%. Several large US banks injected $30 billion in deposits into First Republic Bank on Thursday, while troubled European bank Credit Suisse received a financial lifeline from the Swiss National Bank. Meanwhile, the European Central Bank raised interest rates by 50 basis points on Thursday, indicating policymakers’ confidence in the region’s banking sector to withstand further monetary tightening, even during troubled times.

Later in the session, the final CPI data for the Eurozone is expected to show that inflation grew 0.8% on the month in February, up 8.5% on the year. Economic data releases are thin on the ground, with the banking sector taking center stage. Bloomberg has reported that UBS and Credit Suisse are opposed to a forced merger, which could be a potential solution to the latter’s ongoing problems. In corporate news, Sanofi has announced it will cut U.S. list prices for its most-prescribed insulin product, Lantus, next year following similar moves by U.S. rivals.

Oil prices rose on Friday, with hopes for a response from OPEC and its allies to the week’s sharp selloff, which raised concerns that the banking crisis would hurt global economic activity. Energy ministers from Saudi Arabia and Russia met in Riyadh on Thursday to discuss potential action to support the crude market, and OPEC+’s advisory committee will meet on April 3. By 03:00 ET, US crude futures traded 0.4% higher at $68.65 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 0.4% to $75.03, both benchmarks having hit their lowest levels in over a year this week, and set to post weekly falls of around 10%, the biggest since December. Finally, gold futures rose 0.7% to $1,936.80/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.6% higher at 1.0665.

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