US stocks were looking to get back on the winning track Friday morning in New York amid reaction to the government's stress test on banks and as market players braced for the pivotal monthly jobs report.
As of 6 am ET, the S&P Futures were up 8 points, the Dow Futures were up 75 points, and the NASDAQ Futures were up 7 points.
Stocks are positioned to rise for the eight week in nine, with traders expressing hope that the economy is on the path to recovery.
There were no major surprises in the results of the stress tests on the major banks, with the leaked information reported ahead of the release largely accurate.
The tests performed by regulators showed half of the country's biggest financial institutions need to improve their capital positions in order to ensure that they can weather a further downturn in the economy.
The results of the government's stress test showed that 10 of the 19 banks tested need to raise a total of $74.6 billion. The banks involved in the exercise account for two-thirds of the assets and more than half the loans in the U.S. banking system.
The biggest requirement comes for Bank of America (BAC: News ), which regulators say needs to raise nearly $34 billion. Wells Fargo (WFC: News ), GMAC and Citigroup (C: News ) are other big-name financial institutions that need to improve their capital position, the stress test results show.
stocks moved sharply lower over the course of the trading day on Thursday. The major averages all pulled back firmly into negative territory after reaching multi-month intraday highs in early trading.
The Dow closed down 102.43 points or 1.2 percent at 8,409.85, the Nasdaq closed down 42.86 points or 2.4 percent at 1,716.24 and the S&P 500 closed down 12.14 points or 1.3 percent at 907.39.
Friday's outlook looks rosier, but could be impacted by reaction to the release of the official results of the government's stress tests along with the release of the Labor Department's monthly employment report. The employment report is expected to show a decrease of about 600,000 jobs.
Beleaguered insurer American International Group, Inc. (AIG: News ) said Thursday after the markets closed that its first quarter loss narrowed from last year, as losses from market disruption-related activities reduced. However, the company's quarterly adjusted loss per share was much bigger than analysts expected.
British financial services firm Royal Bank of Scotland Plc (RBS: News ,RBS.L: News ), Friday, reported a loss for the first quarter of fiscal 2009, hurt mainly by higher impairment losses as well as credit market write-downs. The bank also said that it remains cautious and expects both 2009 and 2010 to be very tough years.
The bank, which is now owned by the UK government, reported first-quarter loss of GBP 305 million, compared with a profit of GBP 386 million in the same quarter last year
Troubled financial firm Citigroup said Thursday that it will expand its public exchange offers by $5.5 billion to deal with the capital shortfall.
Fannie Mae (FNM) releases its first-quarter results before the opening bell this morning.
Asian stocks extended their recent gains overnight, while European shares were firmly positive in early dealing.
The price of oil remained well above $57 a barrel, having snapped out of a range around the $50 mark amid expectations of increased energy demand.