Futures Drift Ahead of Options Expiration
Stock index futures edged slightly higher Friday as investors prepared for the "quadruple witching" expiration of futures and options, following a modest rise in stock on Wall Street in the previous session.
"Quadruple witching" is the simulaneous expiration of stock index futures, single stock futures, stock options and stock index options and could increase volatility.
On Thursday, the Dow and S&P closed higher, recovering from earlier losses after a jump in weekly jobless claims and a weak Philly Fed number weighed on the market.
A number of option market indicators are implying that the recent correction was possibly little more than a brief chance to buy at favorable prices and harvest some short-term profits.
Asian stocks were mixed in directionless trade on Friday, after Wall Street closed with slight gains. The Nikkei finished flat on Friday but logged a gain of 3 percent on the week, its biggest weekly rise in three months.
The euro rose on Thursday after a successful Spanish bond offering and on confirmation from the European Union that officials plan to release the results of bank stress tests in mid-July.
All 27 EU members will publish detailed results of bank stress tests by July, and all of the bloc's members will also levy a tax on banks to pay for future financial crises and a financial transaction tax.
The BP saga saw another day of dramas on Thursday, as members of Congress lambasted CEO Tony Hayward’s “lack of candor.” Hayward infuriated representatives with his evasive explanations regarding the spill, referring to multiple variations on the same theme: that he had no direct involvement or knowledge of problems on the Deepwater Horizon, even though engineers lower down in BP's hierarchy had spoken about a "nightmare well."
BP may sell up to $10 billion of corporate debt as early as next week in an offering intended to boost both liquidity, or cash, as well as confidence, according to people familiar with the matter.
US-traded shares of BP rose 2 percent in premarket activity and was registering similar gains in London.
There are no major economic data releases, or corporate earnings announcements on the calendar Friday.