U.S. bank stocks are drawing the attention of investors globally. The Federal Reserve’s recent green light to banks for their biggest cash distributions since the crisis has helped the sector gain almost 10 percent in market value since the start of June, with overall market value being up 30 per cent since Donald Trump’s election. Following this hype, three of the four biggest U.S banks -JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo- start off the 2Q earnings season in the U.S. with Wall Street analysts anticipating mixed figures after having cut their profit forecast recently. U.S. retail sales and industrial production figures are also due.
As far as the U.S. equity markets are concerned, Wall Street closed higher on Thursday, with the major indices (DJI) (SPX) (IXIC) up between 0.1 and 0.2 percent, as stocks take into account comments by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that the central bank's rate hikes could be gradual, given persistently low inflation despite an improving economy. Nevertheless, all major US stock markets remain at record-high levels.
In European news, the President of the ECB, Mario Draghi, is expected to attend this year’s U.S. Federal reserve symposium in Jackson Hall, with analysts exploring the possibility that he could send a message regarding the ECB’s bond buying program as the euro area becomes less reliant on stimulus. Today, European stocks remained almost unchanged following a 1.8 percent rally of the Euro Stoxx for the last two days. WTI crude was steady at $46.09 a barrel after a weekly advance of 4 percent. No major changes for Gold being up 0.1 percent at $1,218.64 an ounce.