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Bargain Hunting May Contribute To Initial Rebound On Wall Street

The major U.S. index futures are currently pointing to a higher open on Friday, with stocks likely to regain ground following the sell-off seen in the previous session.

Bargain hunting may contribute to initial strength on Wall Street, with traders likely to pick up stocks at reduced levels after the steep drop seen in yesterday's session.

China's pledge to act decisively in ramping up support for the ailing economy may also contribute to an early rebound.

Buying interest may be somewhat subdued, however, as concerns about the economic outlook amid aggressive monetary policy tightening by global central banks continues to weigh on the markets.

Stocks moved sharply lower over the course of the trading session on Thursday, more than offsetting the rally seen during trading on Wednesday. With the sharp pullback on the day, the major averages tumbled to their lowest closing levels in well over a year.

The major averages climbed off their worst levels going into the close but still posted steep losses on the day. The Dow plunged 741.46 points or 2.4 percent to 29,927.07, The Nasdaq plummeted 453.06 points or 4.1 percent to 10,646.10 and the S&P 500 dove 123.22 points or 3.3 percent to 3,666.77.

The sell-off on Wall Street reflected concerns aggressive monetary policy action by central banks around the world may trigger a global recession.

Following the Federal Reserve's widely expected 75 basis point interest rate hike on Wednesday, the Swiss National Bank unexpectedly raised interest rates for the first time since 2007.

The Bank of England also announced another 25 basis point rate hike. The BoE's Monetary Policy Committee voted 6-3 to raise the bank rate to 1.25 percent, the highest rate since early 2009.

Taiwan's central bank also increased its benchmark rate by 0.125 percentage points, raising rates for the second time in a row

In U.S. economic news, the Labor Department released a report showing a modest decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended June 11th.

The report showed initial jobless claims edged down to 229,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week's revised level of 232,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 220,000 from the 229,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Meanwhile, a separate released by the Commerce Department showed new residential construction in the U.S. plunged by much more than expected in the month of May.

The Commerce Department said housing starts tumbled by 14.4 percent to an annual rate of 1.549 million in May after jumping by 5.5 percent to a revised rate of 1.810 million in April.

Economists had expected housing starts to decrease by 1.3 percent to an annual rate of 1.701 million from the 1.724 million originally reported for the previous month.

The report also showed building permits slumped by 7.0 percent to an annual rate of 1.695 million in May after falling by 3.0 percent to a revised rate of 1.823 million in April.

Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, were expected to decline by 1.9 percent to an annual rate of 1.785 million from the 1.819 million originally reported for the previous month.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia also released a report showing a modest contraction in regional manufacturing activity in the month of June.

Airline stocks turned in some of the market's worst performances on the day, resulting in a 7.8 percent nosedive by the NYSE Arca Airline Index. The index tumbled to its lowest closing level in almost two years.

The disappointing housing starts data also contributed to considerable weakness among housing stocks, with the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index plunging by 6.3 percent to nearly two-year closing low.

Semiconductor stocks also showed a substantial move to the downside, dragging the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index down by 6.2 percent to its lowest closing level in well over a year.

Energy stocks also saw significant weakness despite an increase by the price of crude oil, moving sharply lower along with networking, computer hardware and steel stocks.

Meanwhile, gold stocks were among the few groups to buck the downtrend, with the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index climbing by 1.7 percent amid a jump by the price of the precious metal.

Commodity, Currency Markets

Crude oil futures are falling $0.52 to $117.07 a barrel after surging $2.28 to $117.59 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, after jumping $30.30 to $1,849.90 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are inching up $2.70 to $1,852.60 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 134.52 yen versus the 132.21 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.0503 compared to yesterday's $1.0549.

Asia

Asian stocks ended broadly lower on Friday, even as mainland Chinese and Hong Kong markets rallied after China's cabinet pledged more policy steps to help the world's second-largest economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A cautious undertone prevailed elsewhere on concerns that aggressive monetary tightening by major central banks to cool inflation could lead to a slowdown in global growth.

China's yuan rose to a one-week high and the yen tumbled from a two-week high after the BoJ rate decision, while oil prices edged lower but stayed above $115 per barrel.

China's Shanghai Composite Index jumped 1 percent to 3,316.79, a day after Beijing declared an initial victory in its latest battle with COVID-19. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index climbed 1.1 percent to 21,075, led by gains in tech stocks.

Goldman Sachs analysts said in a report they are "overweight" on China as monetary, fiscal, property, regulation and COVID policies have all seen loosening.

Japanese shares tumbled as the country's central bank wrapped up a two-day meeting with no major changes to its ultra-low interest rates.

The Nikkei 225 Index slumped 1.8 percent to 25,963, marking its lowest close since May 12 and ending down about 6.6 percent for the week - the sharpest loss in more than two years. The broader Topix closed 1.7 percent lower at 1,835.90, losing 5.5 percent for the week.

Tech and auto stocks bore the brunt of the selling, with Toyota Motor, Advantest, SoftBank and Tokyo Electron falling 4-5 percent.

Seoul stocks closed lower as inflation and recession woes deepened. The Kospi dropped 0.4 percent to 2,440.93. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics fell 1.8 percent to 59,800 won - closing below 60,000 won for the first time since November 4, 2020.

Australian markets tumbled, with tech stocks leading the rout. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index plunged 1.8 percent to 6,474.80, while the broader All Ordinaries Index closed 1.8 percent lower at 6,663.30.

Block Inc. shares slumped 7.8 percent and Xero lost 5.6 percent. GUD Holdings plummeted 19.6 percent after the automotive parts maker lowered its annual earnings guidance.

Europe

European stocks have advanced on Friday after China's cabinet vowed to act decisively in ramping up support for the ailing economy.

Investors were also reacting to comments by U.S. President Joe Biden that a U.S. recession isn't inevitable and that the country was "in a stronger position than any nation in the world to overcome inflation."

Meanwhile Eurozone inflation rose to a record high of 8.1 percent in May on an annualized basis, Eurostat said in a final reading.

While the German DAX Index is up by 1.2 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.9 percent.

Volvo has risen. Its unit Volvo Energy has announced an investment of SEK 50 million for 10 percent in the U.K.-based, second-life battery energy storage specialist Connected Energy.

Spanish lender Santander has also moved to the upside after naming Héctor Grisi its next chief executive.

Tesco shares were little changed. The retailer said it was seeing early indications of changing customer behavior due to pressure on households from soaring inflation.

Miner and trader Glencore has rallied after saying it was on track for a record full-year performance.

Media firm Future has also surged after saying it has made an "encouraging start" to the second half, supported by a return to audience growth.

EssilorLuxottica SA shares have also risen. The provider of ophthalmic lenses and frames said it would buy back up to 2.5 million shares in the period starting from June 17 to August 31, for a price not exceeding 200 euros per share.

U.S. Economic Reports

The Federal Reserve is scheduled to release its report on industrial production in the month of May at 9:15 am ET. Industrial production is expected to increase by 0.4 percent in May after jumping by 1.1 percent in April.

At 10 am ET, the Conference Board is due to release its report on leading economic indicators in the month of May. The leading economic index is expected to decrease by 0.4 percent.

Stocks In Focus

Shares of U.S. Steel (X) are moving sharply higher in pre-market trading after the steelmaker forecast second quarter earnings above analyst estimates.

Health insurer Centene (CNC) is also likely to see initial strength after raising its full-year guidance and adding $3 billion to its share repurchase program.

Shares of Utz Brands (UTZ) are also seeing significant pre-market strength after Goldman Sachs upgraded its rating on the snack maker's stock to Buy from Neutral.

On the other hand, shares of Adobe (ADBE) may come under pressure after the software company reported better than expected fiscal second quarter results but provided disappointing guidance.

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