U.S. stock index futures were higher Friday as regional banks rebounded and traders tried to end a volatile week on a high note. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 104 points, or 0.3%. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 0.3% and 0.1%, respectively. Regional banks rose broadly after declining in the previous session. The SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (KRE) climbed 1.1%. Western Alliance advanced 2.4%, and PacWest gained 3.4%. On Thursday, regional banks dropped broadly after PacWest said its deposits fell sharply last week. Tesla shares rose 2.3% after Elon Musk said Thursday that he’s stepping down as chief executive at Twitter. He will oversee product at the social media firm. Investors are also keeping an eye on Washington as concern around debt ceiling negotiations persisted. CNBC reported that a debt ceiling meeting between President Joe Biden and congressional leaders that was set for Friday was postponed to next week. Investors are coming off a fourth straight losing session for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which on Thursday slid more than 200 points, or 0.66%. Disney’s decline a day after it reported poor subscriber numbers weighed on stocks. The S&P 500 declined 0.17%. By contrast, the Nasdaq Composite added 0.18%. Meanwhile, weaker-than-expected wholesale prices data, a sign of easing inflation, failed to shield investors from ongoing concerns of a downturn ahead — particularly as a handful of stocks continue to carry the market. “It’s a fairly typical story,” JPMorgan’s Jason Hunter said Thursday on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.” “You see the thin leadership, and then at some point the growth decelerates enough to cause a true flight to cash.” Investors are anticipating preliminary consumer sentiment data on Friday, set to release after the open. Economists polled by the Dow Jones are expecting a May reading of 63.0, which would be lower than the level of 63.5 in the previous reading. April import prices are also due out before the open on Friday. Economists are expecting a 0.3% rise last month, compared to the decline of 0.6% the prior month. As of Thursday’s close, the Dow and the S&P 500 are headed for their second negative week in a row, down 1.08% and 0.14% this week, respectively. However, the Nasdaq Composite is on pace for its third straight positive week, up 0.76%. Asia-Pacific markets are trading mixed after the U.S. posted more data that showed inflation was easing. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose marginally to end the day at 7256.7, while in South Korea, the Kospi lost 0.63% and closed at 2,475.42 and the Kosdaq saw a smaller loss of 0.26%, finishing at 822.43. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite fell 1.12% and closed at 3,272.36, dragged lower by in academic and educational services stocks. The Shenzhen Component lost 1.23% and led losses in the region, ending at 11,005.64. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index also fell 0.7% ahead of its first-quarter GDP figures. Japan’s Nikkei 225 bucked the regional trend and rose 0.9%, closing at 29,388.3. The Topix also climbed 0.64% and ended at 2,096.39, led by health care and utilities stocks. Oil prices slipped on Friday, heading for a fourth weekly decline, as renewed economic concerns in the United States and China revived concern about fuel demand growth in the world’s two largest oil consumers. Brent crude futures fell 4 cents, or 0.1%, to $74.92 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) U.S. crude futures were flat at $70.89. Both benchmarks are set to fall by at least 0.5% for the week, which would be the longest streak of weekly declines since November 2021. Gold prices were on track to fall for a third straight session on Friday, weighed by higher yields and a steady dollar, but the bullion retained its spot over the key $2,000 level on expectations of interest rate cuts towards the end the year. Spot gold was down 0.55% at $2,004.52 per ounce, and fell 0.6% for the week. U.S. gold futures fell 0.5% to $2,009.60.
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