U.S. stock index futures rose Friday after tech giant Apple posted its latest quarterly figures, and investors looked ahead to the release of fresh U.S. jobs data. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 177 points, or 0.5%. S&P 500 futures gained 0.7% along with Nasdaq-100 futures. Apple posted beats on the top and bottom lines for the fiscal second quarter, propelled by iPhone sales. Apple shares gained more than 2% in premarket trading. Regional banks also rose broadly, with the SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (KRE) advancing 2.4%. PacWest — which is down sharply this week on news it’s considering strategic options that include a sale — popped nearly 18.9%. Western Alliance also jumped more than 10%. Shares of regional banking companies have been under pressure this week, as traders fear other institutions could suffer the same fate as Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. Both banks collapsed in March. On the economic front, April’s nonfarm payroll data is slated for release at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists predict that 180,000 jobs were added, according to Dow Jones. The report will come after the Federal Reserve hiked rates by 25 basis points earlier this week. The central bank also hinted an end to its rate hiking campaign may be on the horizon, but Chair Jerome Powell noted it’s too soon to start cutting rates. ″[With the] cost of capital going up in such a fast pace after we were at zero or 1% for so long, and then persisting at these higher levels, that’s just creating a whole suit of problems and we don’t exactly where the risk is gonna pop out,” JPMorgan Chase chief U.S. equity strategist Dubravko Lakos said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.” “The risk of ‘unknown unknowns’ is simply moving higher the longer we stay at the higher interest levels.” Wall Street is headed for a week of losses — the worst performance for all three since March 10. The S&P 500 is off 2.6%, while the Nasdaq is off 2.1%. The Dow is down 2.8%. Asia-Pacific markets were mixed as banking fears were reignited on Wall Street, sending the three major U.S. indexes into a four day losing streak. Regional bank shares sold off, with the SPDR S&P Regional Bank ETF (KRE) dropping more than 5% and some banks seeing volatile trading. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 erased earlier losses and rose 0.37% to close at 7,220 as investors digested the Reserve Bank of Australia’s statement on monetary policy. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.38%, leading gains in the region. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite slipped by 0.48% to close at 3,334.5 and the Shenzhen Component fell 0.83% to end at 11,180.87. China’s Caixin services purchasing managers index for April slipped to 56.4 from March’s reading of 57.8 but remained in expansion while the Caixin manufacturing PMI fell into contraction territory. Markets in Japan and South Korea were closed for a holiday. Oil prices rose on Friday but were poised for a third straight week of losses after markets registered dramatic drops on fears of a weakening U.S. economy and slowing Chinese demand. Brent crude rose $1.24, or 1.7%, to $73.74 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate was up $1.13, or 1.65%, at $69.69 after four days of declines that sent the contract to lows last seen in late 2021. The Brent benchmark was on track to finish the week with a decline of about 7% while WTI was set for a 9% loss. Gold prices drifted lower from near record highs on Friday as investors waited for more economic cues, but banking woes and hopes for a pause in U.S. rate hikes kept safe-haven bullion on course for its best week in nearly two months. Spot gold fell 0.6% to $2,038.51 per ounce, which some analysts termed a ‘consolidation’, but was up 2.5% for the week. U.S. gold futures shed 0.4% to $2,046.60. Gold hit $2,072.19 on Thursday, just shy of a record high of $2,072.49 after the Federal Reserve hinted that its marathon hiking cycle may be ending.
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