U.S. stock index futures fell Thursday as regional banks slid once again on growing fears of a banking crisis within the U.S. and Europe. Futures tied to the 30-stock index were down 158 points, or 0.5%. S&P 500 futures lost 0.5%, while Nasdaq-100 futures slipped 0.2%. Credit Suisse announced overnight it will borrow up to nearly $54 billion from the Swiss National Bank to assure short-term liquidity. That offered some relief to the embattled bank in extended hours after it fell to a record low Wednesday following reports that the Saudi National Bank, Credit Suisse’s largest investor, said it would not provide additional assistance. U.S.-listed shares gained 5% in extended trading after falling just under 14% in the prior session. But the news was not enough to quell fears on Wall Street of an impending crisis, leading regional banks to take another leg down in Thursday’s premarket. The SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (KRE) slid 1.6% in extended trading, led down by a drop of more than 31% in First Republic Bank. “What’s also similar to ’08 is the hunting in the market for who’s the most weak next,” said Greg Fleming, CEO of Rockefeller Capital Management and former president of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “And the proxy’s been uninsured deposits.” Growing concern over Credit Suisse sent other European banking stocks lower and reverberated in U.S. markets beginning Wednesday. The Dow at one point Wednesday fell 725 points before ending the day down by 280.83 points, or 0.87% lower. The S&P 500 dropped 0.7%. “It’s no doubt changing the landscape of how we as investors look at the investability of financial institutions that fit in the banking sector,” said Keith Buchanan, portfolio manager at Globalt Investments. “It also makes us ponder just how the sector would navigate with, in the future, more forms of regulatory pressure on these corporations.” Asia-Pacific markets dropped on Thursday, but largely pared losses as the trading day went on as turmoil around Credit Suisse added onto banking fears in the region. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slid 1.89%, leading losses in the region, and the Hang Seng Tech index lost 1.43%. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite closed 1.12% lower at 3,226.89, and the Shenzhen Component saw a larger loss at 1.54% to end at 11,237.7. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.46% to close at 6,965.5, dragged by miners and the banking sector. Investors also digested unemployment numbers, which came in at 3.5% in February. In Japan, the Topix fell 1.17% to end at 1,937.1 on Thursday as the country saw its trade data for February come in lower than expected. The Nikkei 225 fell 0.8% to finish at 27,010.61. South Korea’s Kospi also fell marginally to end at 2,377.91, but the Kosdaq bucked the wider trend and closed 0.1% higher at 781.98. Oil prices clawed back some ground on Thursday after sliding to 15-month lows in the previous session as markets calmed somewhat after Credit Suisse was thrown a financial lifeline by Swiss regulators. But, battered by fears of growing stress on banks worldwide, market sentiment remained fragile with both benchmarks giving up some early Thursday gains that saw Brent climb by more than $1. Brent crude futures were up 60 cents or 0.8% to $74.29 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate crude futures (WTI) rose 47 cents or 0.7% to $68.08 a barrel. On Wednesday, the third straight day of declines, U.S. crude fell below $70 a barrel for the first time since Dec. 20, 2021. Brent has lost nearly 10% since Friday’s close, while U.S. crude is down about 11%. Gold prices edged up on Thursday, helped by a weaker dollar, but prices held below last session’s 6-week peak as risk sentiment improved after Credit Suisse, the latest focal point of a potential banking crisis, secured funds. Spot gold rose 0.1% to $1,920.75 per ounce, after jumping to its highest since early Feb at $1,937.28 on Wednesday. U.S. gold futures shed 0.5% to $1,922.30.
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