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24.03.2023 01:59 PM
Premarket trading on March 24; stock indices drop again

Futures on US stock indices fell on Friday morning, losing all their early gains. European stocks also nosedived due to concerns about the stability of the banking sector.

The European Stoxx Europe 600 index sank by more than 0.7% after Deutsche Bank AG shares plummeted by 15%. Futures on the S&P 500 dropped by 0.7%. Futures on the Nasdaq 100 decreased by 0.4%. The S&P 500 lost about 0.5% from the opening level.

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It appears that after the rate hike by the Fed, traders are cautious about the banking crisis triggered by monetary tightening. Yesterday, shares of companies from the banking sector dropped after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told lawmakers that regulators would be prepared for further steps to protect the banking system if necessary. The KBW Bank Index (BKX), a proxy for banks, fell to its lowest level since November 2020.

It is not surprising that American banks decided to take full advantage of the Fed's lending program. They boosted borrowing under the central bank's newly launched Bank Term Funding Program to $53.7 billion in a week, up from $11.9 billion borrowed last week.

Therefore, worries over the banking sector are unlikely to ease in the near future. Volatility will remain high as policymakers need to convince investors that the financial system is stable. Financial conditions will also tighten in the near future, which increases the risk of a hard landing even if central banks take a softer stance.

Government bonds dropped sharply following increased borrowings. Therefore, 2-year Treasury notes fell by 26 basis points, while 10-year government bonds in Germany and the UK sank by more than 15 points.

The US dollar index jumped after its six-day losing streak. Oil prices declined because of renewed concerns about the stability of the financial sector and a stronger US dollar. Gold rose higher.

Investors are now awaiting the US PMI Indices for February with bated breath after the woes in the banking sector and the possibility of further monetary tightening by central banks. If the figures are positive, it will boost expectations of another rate hike by the Fed in the future.

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As for the technical outlook of the S&P 500, the pressure on risk assets has returned. Further growth of the index may occur only if the bulls push it above $3,920 and $3,950. Bulls also need to take control over $3,977. It will bolster bullish momentum. In case of further downward movement amid of the lack of drivers and demand, buyers should defend $3,890. If the pair declines below this level, the index may decrease to $3,860 and $3,840.

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