Current Futures: Dow -4.00, S&P -1.10, NASDAQ +1.50
European Trade: The global rally that started a few days ago came to an end during the European session, as the major equity indexes plunged more than 1%, moving lower from the opening bell. U.S. futures traded flat overnight, while Asian markets advanced for a third day tonight.
The German Dax and the U.K. Ftse each plunged 1% overnight. Only a hand-full of stocks rose, the rest of the shares declined. In the U.K., the financials reversed direction and posted losses, after a rallying the last few days. Banks, insurers and real estate companies were among the top decliners, including Barclays, Aviva, Land Securities and Friends Providence, which reported a $760 million loss in 2008.
On the German Dax, after the first few minutes of trading, only three companies were still trading in the green. Infineon was the index’s top gainer today, after rumors spread that the company might have found a buyer for its bankrupted subsidiary. Infineon rose 0.6% tonight, on very strong volume. On the downside, Daimler and Salzgitter led the declines.
It appears that the latest trend in the banking sector is to have the top CEO report earnings for the first part of the year. Following Citigroup’s example, which sparked the rally that started a few day ago, Standard Chartered’s CEO said today the bank was profitable in the first two months of the year. It should also be noted, that, Standard Chartered also reported profits in the second half of 2008, when most banks were writing down huge amounts in toxic assets.
In order to raise additional cash, Barclays is looking for potential buyers for its iShare subsidiary. However, the timing might not be so great for the bank, since the typical buyer for such a deal, large banks or an investment firm, is strapped for cash. It is said that, iShares controls almost half of the U.S.’s ETF market, one of the largest players in the business.
Tonight, the Nikkei rose 244.98 points (3.18%) to 7,949.13. The Australian S&P/Asx gained 103.50 points (3.09%) to 3,451.90. In Europe, the U.K. Ftse lost 46.71 points (1.21%) to 3,817.28, while the German Dax slipped 46.45 points (1.15%) to 3,998.09
Crude oil lost some ground, after hitting a two-month high earlier. Crude oil for April delivery fell $0.70 to $46.60
Gold moved very little in the overnight session. Bullion for immediate delivery declined $0.90 to $921.10.