U.S. stock index futures were lower Friday, tracking weakness in overseas markets, amid fading hopes of a global round of monetary stimulus and as investors refocused their attention to the euro zone debt crisis.
World stocks rose on Thursday after China cut its key interest rate by 25 basis points in order to stimulate its economy. However hopes of stimulus measures in the U.S. were dashed by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s congressional speech, which made no commitment to further easing.
The Fed holds its next policy meeting on June 19 to 20.
Investors received more disappointing news just before the closing bell Thursday when the Fed released plans to force banksto hold greater capital reservesas a firewall against future financial difficulties, causing stocks to suffer a late-day reversal.
European shares fell, with downward pressure because of disappointing trade data from Germany. In April, German imports plummeted by their fastest rate in two years and exports fell by more than expected, suggesting the crisis is increasingly impinging on Europe’s strongest economy.
Investor concerns about Spain’s financial sector were highlighted on Thursday when Fitch Ratings downgraded its sovereign rating for Spain by three notches to triple-B with negative outlook, citing the urgent need for bank recapitalization.