U.S. stock futures extended gains ahead of the opening bell Friday as a strong rebound in oil prices and a softening Japanese yen helped calm investors’ nerves after Thursday’s selloff.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMM6, +0.61% climbed 123 points, or 0.7%, to 17,582, while those for the S&P 500 index ESM6, +0.72% added 17 points, or 0.8%, to 2,052. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 index NQM6, +0.73% gained 37 points, or 0.8%, to 4,507.
The gains come after a downbeat day on Thursday, when the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.49% slumped 1.2% and closed in negative territory for the year. The Dow average DJIA, +0.46% sank 1% and the Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.68% slid 1.5%. The sharp losses came as investors shunned assets perceived as risky in favor of haven plays, such as the yen and gold.
The Japanese currency USDJPY, +0.51% eased back on Friday after Japan’s finance minister Taro Aso said he may act against what he termed “one-sided” yen rises. Gold prices GCM6, -0.16% inched lower on Friday, another sign that investors were warming up to taking on more risk.
“Traders still remain on high alert amid fears that even though Japanese government officials appear to be ruling out immediate intervention to halt Yen aggressive appreciation, the Bank of Japan may take action through monetary policy at its meeting on April 28,” said Nawaz Ali, currency strategist at Western Union in a note.
The yen had jumped to the highest level against the dollar in almost 18-months on Thursday as fears that global central banks won’t be able to fix the global economy zapped investor sentiment and spurred a flight to havens. Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen said the U.S. economy was “on a solid course, not a bubble economy” at a gathering with former Fed leaders after U.S. markets had closed on Thursday.
New York Fed president said Friday the central bank must maintain a cautious and gradual approach to raising interest rates, echoing views about the need for a go-slow approach to rate hikes that Yellen expressed last week.
There were no other Fed speakers on the docket for Friday and only one noteworthy set of economic data: wholesale inventories for February are due at 10 a.m. Eastern.
Oil jump: U.S. stock futures on Friday also got a boost from a rebound in oil prices. U.S. crude CLK6, +5.45% jumped $1.33, or 3.6%, to $38.59 a barrel, and Brent LCOM6, +4.59% rose $1.27, or 3.2%, to $40.70 a barrel.
Other movers and shakers: Under Armour Inc UA, -47.53% underwent a 2-for-1 split Friday, after the athletic apparel company issued Class C shares to existing shareholders.
Depomed Inc DEPO, +17.93% surged 16% premarket after Starboard Value disclosed that the company and its affiliates own 9.8% of Depomed’s outstanding shares.
Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc. ICPT, -0.89% gained 1.3% ahead of the bell after a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee recommended an accelerated approval of the biotech firm’s liver treatment Ocaliva.
Other markets: European stocks markets rose almost across the board, getting a boost from the rally in oil prices and stronger-than-expected German trade data.
Stocks in Asia ended mixed, as investors digested the latest move in the yen.
The ICE dollar index DXY, -0.13% was slightly higher at 94.571.