U.S. stock futures climb after solid data, ECB announcement

U.S. stock futures pointed to a positive open on Thursday, as the European Central Bank left its key lending rates unchanged and announced that it plans to end its bond-buying program at the end of the year.

A flurry of stronger-than-expected economic data also lent support to futures.

What are markets doing?

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMU8, +0.36%  rose 84 points to 25,292, while those for the S&P 500 index ESU8, +0.36% rose 9.5 points to 2,788.5. Futures for the Nasdaq-100 index NQU8, +0.68%  rose 28 points, or 0.4%, to 7,259.

The upbeat trading action came after declines on Wednesday, when the main benchmarks ended near session lows. Stocks fell after the Fed raised interest rates and struck an unexpectedly hawkish tone for the rest of 2018. The central bank hinted at two more hikes this year, rather than the one additional move that had previously been predicted

The Dow DJIA, +0.26%  fell 0.5%, while the S&P 500 SPX, +0.25%  dropped 0.4% and Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.47%  ended 0.1% lower.

What is driving the market?

Central bank activity was the primary driver of the day. Meeting just a day after the Fed lifted interest rates for the second time this year, the ECB was in the spotlight on Thursday after it left interest rates unchanged and laid out plans to taper its program of monthly bond purchases later this year. The central bank is aiming to bring them to a halt by the end of 2018.

Aside from the central banks, trade worries continued to be on traders’ minds on Thursday. President Donald Trump’s administration is preparing to announce tariffs on tens of billions of dollars in Chinese goods as early as Friday, a move that is feared to trigger retaliatory action by China.

What’s on

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