Thursday March 10th


Dow futures up triple digits after ECB decision; Draghi eyed

U.S. stock index futures indicated a higher open on Thursday as traders eyed a meeting of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany. ECB President Mario Draghi is scheduled to give a press conference at 8:30 a.m. ET. Dow futures added more than 150 points after the ECB cut the deposit rate to negative 0.4 percent from minus 0.3 percent, charging banks more to keep their money with the central bank. The refinancing rate was also cut, down 5 basis points to 0.00 percent. The central bank also expanded its asset purchase program from 60 billion euros to 80 billion euros a month, beginning in April. The U.S. dollar index traded nearly 1 percent higher, with the euro falling below $1.09. Treasury yields turned higher, with the 2-year yield briefly above 0.9 percent and the 10-year around 1.89 percent. European stocks extended gains to trade more than 1 percent higher. The central bank was expected to cut its deposit rate further into negative territory and boost asset purchases in an effort to spark euro zone inflation and encourage growth. Weekly jobless claims declined 18,000 to a seasonally adjusted 259,000 for the week ended March 5, the lowest reading since mid-October, the Labor Department said in a Reuters report on Thursday. The prior week's claims were revised to show 1,000 fewer applications received than previously reported. The Federal budget is scheduled for release at 2:00 p.m. On the earnings front, El Pollo Loco is among companies set to report today. Asia markets were mixed on Thursday, as traders digested another round of Chinese data, as well as interest rate decisions from central banks in New Zealand and South Korea. The Japanese Nikkei 225 closed up 210.15 points, or 1.26 percent, at 16,852.35. South Korea's Kospi added 16.38 points, or 0.84 percent, to 1,969.33, while Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 finished 7.11 points, or 0.14 percent, lower at 5,150.07. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index finished near flat at 19,984.42. Chinese markets slipped, with the Shanghai composite dropping 58.20 points, or 2.03 percent, to 2,804.35. The smaller Shenzhen composite was lower by 24.47 points, or 1.42 percent, to 1,688.97. U.S. crude seesawed on Thursday, with analysts warning that larger gains would be unwarranted as refineries enter seasonal maintenance and a global glut weighs. Brent crude futures were at $40.76 per barrel at 7:55 a.m. ET (1255 GMT), down 31 cents from their last close, having earlier this week peaked at $41.48, the highest level since Dec. 9. U.S. crude was up 1 cent at $38.30 per barrel, having hit $38.51 on Tuesday, also its highest since Dec. 9. Gold fell on Thursday after the European Central Bank cut interest rates and expanded its bond-buying program to boost growth and inflation in the euro zone, sending the euro tumbling against the dollar and lifting European shares. While the resulting strength in the dollar weighed on spot prices, euro-denominated gold rose 1.4 percent as the single currency slid a full cent against the U.S. unit. Spot gold hit a low of $1,237.06 an ounce and was down 0.2 percent at $1,249.95 an ounce. U.S. gold futures for April delivery were down $6.20 an ounce at $1,252.20.