Stocks are rallying Thursday after a group of big banks offered a lifeline to the bank Wall Street had zeroed in on in its hunt for the next victim in the industry’s struggles.

The S&P 500 was 1.7 per cent higher in late trading after erasing earlier losses following reports that First Republic Bank could receive financial assistance or sell itself to another bank.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 355 points, or 1.1 per cent, at 32,2229, as of 3:29 p.m. Eastern time, while the Nasdaq composite was 2.6 per cent higher.

This week has been a whirlwind for markets globally on worries that banks may be bending under the weight of the fastest set of hikes to interest rates in decades. The concerns have been flaring since Friday’s collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, which was the second largest bank failure in U.S. history.

Story continues below advertisement

Since then, Wall Street has tried to root out banks with similar traits, such as lots of depositors with more than the $250,000 limit that’s insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., or lots of tech startups and other highly connected people that can spread worries about a bank’s strength quickly.

Read more:

Credit Suisse to borrow up to US$54B from Swiss central bank after stock plunge

First Republic Bank has been at the center of the market’s swivels, and it rose 14.5 per cent after slumping as much as 36 per cent earlier in the day. A group of 11 of the country’s biggest banks said they would deposit $30 billlion at the bank in a move that “reflects their confidence in First Republic and in banks of all sizes.”

Financial stocks across the S&P 500 flipped from losses in the morning to gains by midday. Treasury yields also strengthened suddenly, a sign of increased confidence from the bond market.

Across the Atlantic, European stocks rose after the European Central Bank announced a hefty increase to interest rates. Concerns there were also easing about another bank, Credit Suisse, which helped cause markets to tumble sharply across the continent on Wednesday. The Swiss bank has been battling troubles for years, but its plunge to a record low raised concerns just as more attention shines on the wider industry.

Story continues below advertisement

Credit Suisse’s stock in Switzerland leaped 19.2 per cent Thursday after it said it will strengthen its finances by borrowing up to 50 billion Swiss francs ($54 billion) from the Swiss National Bank.

Much of the damage for banks is seen as the result of the Federal Reserve’s fastest barrage of hikes to interest rates in decades. They’ve shocked the system following years of historically easy conditions in hopes of driving down painfully high inflation.

Click to play video: 'Global News Morning Market and Business Report – March 14, 2023'

Global News Morning Market and Business Report – March 14, 2023

Higher rates can tame inflation by slowing the economy, but they raise the risk of a recession later on. They also hurt prices for stocks, bonds and other investments. That latter factor was one of the issues hurting Silicon Valley Bank because high rates forced down the value of its bond investments.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told a Senate committee on Thursday that the nation’s banking system “remains sound” and Americans “can feel confident” about their deposits.

Story continues below advertisement

“Fast-moving disruptions in the global banking industry are making for highly fluid and uneasy markets,” said John Gentry, head of corporate fixed income group at Federated Hermes. “It’s never comfortable when” markets are trying to figure out the correct price for things amid deep uncertainty. “But we suggest caution in trying to draw strong parallels to 2007-09,” when a financial crisis torpedoed the global economy.

Read more:

Amid bank crisis fears, Janet Yellen tells Congress banking system ‘remains sound’

Wall Street increasingly expects this week’s turmoil to push the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates next week by only a quarter of a percentage point. That would be the same sized increase as last month’s, and it would be counter to expectations from earlier this month that it could hike by 0.50 points, as it had been potentially signaling.

Some traders are also betting on the possibility the Fed could take a pause on rate hikes next week.

The European Central Bank on Thursday raised its key interest rate by half a percentage point, brushing aside speculation that it may reduce the size because of all the turmoil around banks.

Some of Wall Street’s wildest action this week has been in the bond market, as traders rush to guess where the Fed is heading.

Story continues below advertisement

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 3.56 per cent from 3.47 per cent late Wednesday, after dropping as low as 3.37 per cent earlier in the day. It’s been veering sharply since climbing above 4 per cent earlier this month, and it helps set rates for mortgages and other important loans.

All the stress in the banking system has raised worries about a potential recession because of how important smaller and mid-sized banks are to making loans to businesses across the country. Oil prices have slid this week on such fears.

Economists at Goldman Sachs said all the near-term uncertainty surrounding small banks mean they see a 35 per cent probability of a recession in the next 12 months. That’s up from their prior forecast of 25 per cent.

Reports on the U.S. economy, meanwhile, continue to show mixed signals.

Click to play video: 'Swiss bank Credit Suisse shares plummet to record low'

Swiss bank Credit Suisse shares plummet to record low

The job market looks remarkably solid, and a report said fewer workers applied for unemployment benefits last week than expected. .

Story continues below advertisement

But other pockets of the economy are continuing to show weakness. Manufacturing has struggled, for example, and a measure of activity in the mid-Atlantic region weakened by more than expected.

The housing market has also been struggling under the weight of higher mortgage rates, though homebuilders broke ground on more projects last month than expected. That could be a signal the industry is finding some stability.


AP Business Writers Joe McDonald and Matt Ott contributed.

&copy 2023 The Canadian Press

Source link

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share

By admin

Follow by Email