While many Canadian investors might be smarting over the hit they've taken from tumbling energy stocks over the past couple of days, the rest of the world is wondering if Friday will extend the rally in financial stocks to day No. 3. There are certainly some signs that the winning streak will continue.
U.S. stock index futures were higher with about an hour before trading begins, suggesting stocks will rise at the start of the day. Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average rose 39 points, to 11,440. Futures for the broader S&P 500 rose 7 points, to 1260.
In Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 1.1 per cent and Germany's DAX index rose 1.5 per cent in afternoon trading. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.7 per cent in overnight trading.
After Merrill Lynch & Co. reported disappointing second-quarter results on Thursday, following the close of markets, Citigroup Inc. gave investors something to cheer about on Friday morning: The beleaguered financial firm reported a smaller-than-expected loss of $2.5-billion (U.S.), or 54 cents a share, in the second quarter - well below the consensus expectation for a loss of nearly $3.7-billion. The bank took $12-billion in writedowns in the quarter. Citigroup shares rose more than 7 per cent in premarket trading.
However, there are some headwinds forming in the market. Crude oil, which dipped below $130 a barrel on Thursday - part of a remarkable $15 retreat over the course of the week - went the other way on Friday, rising to $130.77 a barrel, up $1.48.
As well, technology stocks are sending signals that they, too, are beginning to reflect the mushy underpinnings of the world economy. After markets closed on Thursday, both Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. reported disappointing earnings. Their stocks fell 7.2 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively, in premarket trading on Friday and dragged down other tech stocks.