Current Futures: Dow +10.00, S&P +0.60, NASDAQ +0.50

European markets and U.S futures are trading in the green, even though Asian markets closed the session lower, marking the second consecutive week of declines. 

In Europe, banks continued to post strong gains, but car-manufacturers traded mixed, as the truck division of Volvo posted a second consecutive quarterly loss, while also reducing its year-end forecast. In Asia, the markets turned lower as the Japanese financial institutions posted significant losses, despite the huge rally seen on Wall Street on Thursday. Mizuho, Japan’s second largest bank posted a huge $5.9 billion loss, while the market expected positive results for the first quarter. 

“To make things worse, Mitsubishi and Sumitomo Financial Groups, the first and the third largest banks, are also expected to post significant losses in the first quarter. It looks like, after Japan’s lost decade of the 90’s, a new one may be presenting itself” Trade Team said.

The last few hours have been relatively calm in the financial markets. The only important report that has appeared, and which is likely to produce some huge changes, was of U.K’s debt rating being under review. The major rating agencies, Moody’s and S&P, are reviewing the country’s AAA rating, since public finance is falling apart at a substantial rate. This is in-line with Trade Team’s view, which over the past few weeks has questioned the U.K.’s public finance policy and raised some questions about the huge deficit. 

Furthermore, a report showed today that the U.K. economy contracted 1.9% in the first quarter, something that creates additional pressure. Until now, a number of European countries have already seen their debt rating downgraded, including Spain, Greece, Portugal and Ireland. 
Today, there are just a few important earnings scheduled, including 3M, Ford, Honeywell International, ITT Corporation and Xerox.

Overnight, the Nikkei fell 139.02 points (1.57%) to 8,707.99. The Australian S&P/Asx declined 30.70 points (0.82%) to 3,712.30. The U.K. Ftse rose 29.43 points (0.73%) to 4,047.66, while the German Dax added 26.55 points (0.59%) to 4,564.76.

Crude oil for May delivery was recently trading at $49.90 per barrel, up by $0.30.

Gold for May delivery was recently trading up by $6.00 to $912.60.