Friday March 25th


Stock futures rise as S&P 500 looks for second straight positive week

U.S. stock market index futures rose rose Friday morning as the S&P 500 looked to close out its second consecutive positive week. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained about 95 points, or 0.3%. S&P 500 futures added 0.4%, while Nasdaq 100 futures ticked up 0.4%. The move comes after a solid session for stocks on Wednesday in which the S&P rose 1.4%, the Nasdaq Composite gained 1.9% and the Dow added 349 points. For the week, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are up 1.3% and 2.1%, respectively. Both are on track for their second-straight winning week. The Dow is down marginally week to date. The S&P 500 is now up more than 3% in March, more than erasing its losses since Russia invaded Ukraine late last month. The rebound has come even as the war in Ukraine continues and the Federal Reserve is set to hike interest rates several more times this year. “Equities are rallying despite a hawkish Fed and stagflation concerns, as many believe there is no alternative to stocks,” said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at USB Global Wealth Management. Traders are keeping an eye on Europe as the Ukraine-Russia continues. The European Union on Friday struck a gas deal with the U.S. in an effort to reduce its dependency on Russian energy. The news comes after President Joe Biden said Thursday at a NATO summit in Brussels that the U.S. would respond if Russia used chemical weapons in Ukraine. Chinese stocks fell Friday as the rest of Asia-Pacific traded mixed, while Wall Street stocks rallied overnight and oil prices fell. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 2.47% to close at 21,404.88, paring some losses after plunging nearly 3% earlier. The Shanghai composite was down 1.17% to close at 3,212.24, and the Shenzhen component fell 1.89% to 12,072.73. The CSI 300 dropped 1.8% to 4,174.57. The Hang Seng tech index fell nearly 5%. Japan stocks moved between positive and negative territory, but the Nikkei 225 closed 0.14% up to 28,149.84, and the Topix closed flat to 1,981.47. Japan reported inflation data, showing its core consumer price index hit a two-year high in March, according to Reuters. South Korean stocks struggled for direction, trading between gains and losses. The Kospi last sat above the flatline and settled at 2,729.98. Oil prices slipped on Friday, with some supply concerns easing on expectations that crude exports would resume from Kazakhstan’s CPC terminal, while the European Union remained split on whether to impose an oil embargo on Russia. Brent fell $1.28 to trade at $117.69 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude slid $1.74 to $110.60 a barrel, after both had dropped more than 2% the previous session. Gold on Friday was on course for a third weekly gain in four, as the Russia-Ukraine conflict escalated while the spike in oil prices this week increased demand for bullion as a safe-haven asset and an inflation hedge. Spot gold was flat at $1,956.54 per ounce. U.S. gold futures dipped 0.2% to $1,957.30. The metal hovered near a one-week high scaled in the previous session and jumped nearly 2% so far this week.