Friday April 13th


US futures mostly higher ahead of the open; US bank earnings loom

U.S. stock index futures posted minor gains ahead of Friday's open, with a slew of corporate earnings due to be published. Around 6:50 a.m. ET, Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 54 points, indicating an uptick of 64.95 points at the open. The Nasdaq 100 and the S&P 500 futures indicated a mixed start to Friday's session for their respective markets. The moves in premarket trade come after Wall Street finished its previous session in the black. On Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 293.60 points to close at 24,483.05, after President Donald Trump clarified his position on a possible missile attack in Syria. Markets have been on edge in recent days after Trump appeared to criticize the Kremlin for its supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad, following a suspected chemical attack last weekend. Facebook remains in the spotlight. Earlier this week, CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified twice on Capitol Hill, where he faced questions surrounding the social media giant's guiding principles and legal obligations. The company has suffered a wave of bad press following allegations that research firm Cambridge Analytica had improperly gained access to the personal information of up to 87 million users. On Friday, a number of U.S. banks are due to report their latest earnings, including Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo. On the data front, consumer sentiment and the job openings and labor turnover survey (JOLTS) are both due out at 10 a.m. ET. Meanwhile, three officials from the U.S. Federal Reserve are due to deliver remarks at separate events. Asian shares closed mostly higher on Friday, with investor confidence improving amid a de-escalation in recent trade and geopolitical tensions. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.55 percent, or 118.46 points, to close at 21,778.74, but was off an intraday high of 21,778.74 earlier. Meanwhile, South Korea's Kospi edged up by 0.51 percent to end at 2,455.07. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index drifted slightly higher by at 3:00 p.m. HK/SIN. The index was up 0.11 percent before the market close. Mainland markets finished the day lower: The Shanghai compositeeased 0.65 percent to end at 3,159.39 and the Shenzhen composite shed 0.32 percent to close at 1,834.38. Oil prices edged higher on Friday, heading for their largest weekly gain since July after U.S. President Trump's comments about possible military action in Syria and reports of dwindling global oil stocks. Brent crude rose by 44 cents to $72.46 a barrel at 0821 GMT, up about 8 percent on the week. NYMEX crude for May delivery gained 45 cents to $67.52, putting the contract on track for a weekly jump of nearly 9 percent. Gold prices rose on Friday and were headed for their second weekly gain as investors sought safety from security tensions over Syria. Spot gold was up 0.4 percent at $1,340.79 an ounce as of 0930 GMT, and was set for a weekly gain of around half a percent. U.S. gold futures were steady at $1,343.70 an ounce. Global stocks were poised for their biggest weekly gain in over a month, as investors shrugged off tensions while the dollar slipped, boosting commodities. Meanwhile, holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.69 percent to 865.89 tonnes on Thursday. Holdings rose to their highest since June 2017 and were up about 3.5 percent so far this year, suggesting an increase in investor appetite for the metal, seen as a safe investment during times of financial and political uncertainties.