U.S. stock index futures were quiet Tuesday, while bond yields continued to extend gains as investors monitored the latest developments in the banking sector after the sale of Silicon Valley Bank. Futures tied to the S&P 500 and futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average ticked down near the flatline Tuesday morning. Contracts on the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite edged were also virtually unchanged before the opening bell. Bond yields moved higher. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note moved to about 3.55% on Tuesday morning. WTI crude oil rose more than 5% to start the week, and it was slightly higher Tuesday, ticking up to around $73 a barrel. Stocks ended Monday mixed, after North Carolina-based First Citizens bank bought Silicon Valley Bank. Communication services, tech, and real estate were the only sectors to finish the day lower; the former two sectors also dragged on the Nasdaq, resulting in the tech-heavy index to fall 0.5%, according to Bespoke Investments. Meanwhile, SVB’s fallout will cost the FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund about $20 billion. The deal sent bank stocks in rebound mode, with the KBW Nasdaq Bank Index closing over 2.5% higher. Banks will continue to dominate the headlines again this week with the earnings and economic calendars in light. The FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Michael Barr, and Treasury Undersecretary Nellie Liang are set to testify at a Senate Banking Committee hearing Tuesday about the collapse of SVB and Signature Bank. Treasury Undersecretary Nellie Liang wrote in a statement ahead of the hearing on Monday night that she supports these reviews and looks forward to learning about regulatory responses. “We must ensure that our bank regulatory policies and supervision are appropriate for the risks and challenges that banks face today,” Liang's testimony reads. “If bank contagion fears subside, then we may see a resurgence in both bond yields and commodities as growth, before the banking crises, was stronger than expected led by the US and a reopened China,” wrote the U.S. market intelligence team at JPMorgan in a note. “However, banking crises typically have wide-ranging, and negative, impacts on growth and employment,” the team added. Bank sentiment gained momentum. Regional bank stocks are trading higher Tuesday morning, including First Republic Bank, PacWest Bancorp, Western Alliance Bancorporatio, Zions Bancorporation, and Regions Financial. Big bank stocks continued to get a slight bounce, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup. Meanwhile, the largest money managers have signaled that the Federal Reserve will continue to raise rates despite trader’s recent bets amid the bank fallouts, according to BlackRock. BlackRock Investment Institute strategists, including Wei Li, wrote in a client note that the Fed and its peers have made it clear that the troubles in the banking sector won’t detract from its battle against inflation. Separately, there’s speculation that Charles Schwab could be the next name to follow in the banking sector’s troubles, Bloomberg reports. This comes as higher interest rates have pushed some investors to move cash out of certain accounts, which bolster Schwab’s bottom line and business. On the economic front, February wholesale inventories gained 0.2% compared to economists expectations of 0.1% and retail inventories climbed 0.8%, the strongest reading since August, higher than expectations of 0.2%. Separately, home prices logged its seventh consecutive monthly decline in January as rising interest rates continue to pressure home prices and the housing market overall. Most Asian stock markets rose on Tuesday as sentiment improved amid easing fears of a looming banking crisis, although Chinese stocks lagged their peers as a string of weak earnings brewed doubts over a swift economic recovery this year. Australia’s ASX 200 was the best performer for the day, rising 0.9% as data showed that the country’s retail sales grew slightly more than expected in February, indicating some economic resilience as it grapples with high inflation and interest rates. South Korea’s KOSPI added 0.7%, while Thailand stocks led gains across Southeast Asia with a 0.7% bounce. But losses in China limited the positive sentiment, as the Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 and Shanghai Composite indexes traded largely sideways, after falling on Monday. Still, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 0.8% on Tuesday, aided largely by technology stocks and as the Chinese government promised to further open up local capital markets to overseas investors. Japan's Nikkei 225 index was flat following signs that underlying inflation still remained high in the country, which could attract monetary tightening by the Bank of Japan. Gold prices rose in early Asian trade on Tuesday, but were pinned well below recent highs as gains in the stock market and hopes that a U.S. banking crisis had been avoided saw investors pivot away from safe haven assets. The yellow metal fell sharply on Monday as repeated reassurances of stability in the banking sector helped ease concerns over broader contagion from the collapse of several banks this month. Spot gold rose 0.3% to $1,962.80 an ounce, while gold futures expiring in June rose 0.5% to $1,981.20 an ounce by 21:54. Both instruments fell nearly 1% on Monday after racing past the $2,000 an ounce level last week.
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