Solid economic data is supporting a relief rally in Europe, although there were more big falls in Asia. U.S. stock futures are slightly higher, after markets sank to their lowest level in nearly two years on Thursday.
UBS analysts say stocks have become detached from reality: “Equity markets are disproportionately weighted to energy, financials and manufacturing. Weak energy prices, regulation or currency strength will hit equities far more than they hit the real economy.”
Here are the six things you need to know before the opening bell rings in New York:
1. International markets: European markets jumped by nearly 2% in early trading, while Asian markets had a painful end to the week. The Nikkei fell 4.8% to end a shortened week down 11%, extending this year’s slide to 21%, as the yen continued to gain strength against the U.S. dollar.
2. Banks bounce: The jump in European indexes was led by a rebound of sorts for banks. Shares in Germany’s Commerzbank ( soared 14% after the bank beat expectations with )fourth quarter profit and said it would start paying dividends again. BNP Paribas ( is up 2.5%, and the yo-yo in )Deutsche Bank ( shares continued with a 5.5% rise. )Standard Chartered (is up 7% and )Barclays ( 5%. )
3. Stock market movers — Rolls-Royce, JPMorgan Chase, Activision Blizzard: Shares in troubled engine maker Rolls-Royce ( jumped 15% at the open, even after it announced a fall in profits and cut its dividend. It wasn’t as bad as some investors feared. )JPMorgan Chase ( shares are rising 3% in premarket after CEO Jamie Dimon reportedly spent $26 million buying shares in the bank. )Activision Blizzard (Tech30), the video game company behind Call of Duty and Warcraft, was down more than 14% during extended trading after posting earnings that missed expectations. ,
4. Oil and gold: Crude futures have jumped more than 4% to above $27 dollars a barrel, though it was even higher in Asia overnight. Gold is ticking below $1,240.
5. Earnings and economics: ArcelorMittal ( and )Brookfield Asset Management ( will post quarterly results ahead of the open. The latest retail sales report will come from the U.S. Census Bureau at 8:30 am ET. At 10 am, the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index will get an update. )