Futures Higher After Two-Day Market Selloff
U.S. stock index futures were higher Friday, as global shares bounced back after two-straight days of heavy market selloff.
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Major averages took a sharp nosedive Thursday, with the Dow and the S&P 500 posting their worst losses of 2013, after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke hinted the central bank may scale back its asset purchases later this year.
"There appears to be relative calm as markets open, following a calamitous period since the Fed threatened to take away the steroids. In the grand scheme of things, stocks still look relatively cheap when compared to cash and government bonds, so investors will be on a bargain hunt following yesterday's battering," Mike McCudden, head of derivatives at stockbroker Interactive Investor in London, said in a morning note.
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"All the concern in the markets is because the Fed sees the economy stronger in the future," said widely-followed hedge fund manager David Tepper, founder of Appaloosa Management in a statement to CNBC. "In fact, their forecast shows that they will wait until a lower unemployment rate(closer to 6 percent than 6.5 than) to raise interest rates. So they are a bit easier on that front...I obviously thought they should start to taper. [But] the bottom line when the dust settles [is that the] only one place to be [is] STOCKS."
St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said the decision by the central bank to lay out its plans to taper its bond-buying program was badly timed and that the Fed should have waited for "more tangible signs" of economic improvement and a halt in the downward direction for inflation.
However, Asian shares moved off session lows on Friday, led by a stellar rebound in Japan's benchmark Nikkei index. The Nikkei crossed the 13,000 level to rally as much as 2 percent, notching up gains of over 4 percent on the week.
In Europe, European Union finance ministers will meet in Luxembourg to discuss how and when Europe's bailout fund will be able to directly recapitalize banks. This comes after euro zone finance ministers agreed late on Thursday to set aside 60 billion euros ($79 billion) to help banks via the European Stability Mechanism fund.
There are no economic major economic data scheduled for release. Friday marks quadruple witching, when index futures, options on index futures, single-stock futures and stock options expire. It is usually one of the most volatile and heavily traded days of the year.
Oracle slumped after the technology giant missed forecasts for software sales and subscriptions for the second straight quarter. Additionally, at least five brokerages lowered their price targets on the company.
Facebook gained after UBS raised its rating on the social-networking giant to "buy" from "neutral."