Futures Drop As JPMorgan Weighs On Banks

 @ibtimes on May 11 2012 7:28 AM

Stock index futures fell on Friday and were on track to extend the week's losses after JPMorgan Chase & Co revealed a shocking trading loss of at least $2 billion from a failed hedging strategy.

The news sent shares of the Dow component down 7.2 percent to $37.80 in premarket trading, and it is the latest hurdle for a sector already besieged by the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and fears of slowing growth around the globe.

While other gains partially offset the trading loss, JPMorgan Chase estimates that the business unit with the portfolio that had the hude trading loss will lose $800 million in the current quarter, excluding private equity results and litigation expenses. The bank had previously expected the unit to earn a profit of about $200 million.

Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of the biggest U.S. bank (as measured in assets), cautioned that losses could grow by another $1 billion.

Bank of America Corp fell 1.8 percent to $7.56 before the bell while Citigroup Inc. lost 2.4 percent to $29.90, and the Financial Select Sector SPDR was off 1.2 percent to $14.80. The S&P financial sector <.GSPF> will likely extend its losses of almost 3 percent so far this month.

Financial stocks have been among the most volatile in recent months as investors question what the growth outlook for the U.S. and the debt crisis of Europe will mean for the group's profits. JPMorgan has fallen 11.4 percent since the end of March.

The CBOE VIX Volatility Index <.VIX> is up almost 10 percent this month in a sign of growing caution.

S&P 500 futures fell 7.8 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. The Dow Jones industrial average futures sank 81 points and the Nasdaq 100 futures lost 8.75 points.

Investors are looking ahead to the April Producer Price Index, due at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT), as well as the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary May consumer sentiment index. Economists in a Reuters survey expect a reading of 76.2 compared to 76.4 in the final April report, with producer prices flat.

Software maker CA Inc. continued its run of estimate-beating profit late Thursday night, as demand rose at its North American business.

With 449 of the S&P 500 companies reporting results through Thursday morning, 66.4 percent exceeded estimates, according to Thomson Reuters data, compared with more than 80 percent at the start of earnings season.

Nvidia Corp is the only S&P 500 company scheduled to report Friday.

The Dow rose modestly to break a six-day losing streak on Thursday, though a weak outlook from Cisco Systems Inc. capped advances. The S&P 500 could not hold enough gains to close above its April low. Still, the index has rebounded after falling to a two-month low near 1,340 on Wednesday.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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