U.S. futures are having a strong start Friday with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq each climbing more than 1% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 0.9% in premarket trading.
The jump is attributable to what appears to be a delayed reaction to the European Central Bank's latest round of quantitative easing.
On Thursday, the ECB announced that it was cutting its main financing rate by five basis points to 0% and its deposit rate to -0.40%. The central bank also expanded its monthly bond purchases by one-third as part of its quantitative easing plans.
Whether the moves will be effective over the long run remains to be seen, but futures in premarket trading Thursday spiked following the announcement.
European indices have responded positively in the short term, with the DAX rising 3%, the FTSE advancing 1.5% and the CAC 40 increasing 2.8% with about three hours left in trading.
However, falling crude prices placed negative pressure on the markets yesterday as the Dow and Nasdaq both ended the day in the red.
On Friday, crude prices are climbing in early market trading with industry standard Brent crude contracts for May delivery up $0.66 to $40.71 and West Texas crude contracts for April delivery up $0.83 to $38.67 per barrel.
Sporting goods retailer Hibbett Sports (HIBB) could face a mixed market reaction Friday after the company topped analysts' fourth-quarter bottom-line estimates, but also provided weak full-year guidance. While revenue for the quarter was in line, four-quarter comparable store sales fell 0.6%.
Fast food restaurant Bojangles (BOJA) is spiking premarket after the fried chicken chain's fourth-quarter earnings beat expectations. The company reported earnings of $0.22 per share on revenue of $128.8 million. For the current year, Bojangles expects EPS to range between $0.86 and $0.90.
Fellow chicken joint El Pollo Loco (LOCO) is falling premarket after reporting mixed fourth-quarter results and guiding its full-year earnings expectations on the low side of analysts' consensus. The restaurant chain expects EPS between $0.70 and $0.74 this year vs. the $0.74 consensus.
American Express (AXP) could benefit Friday after the credit card company unveiled a plan to generate additional revenue from its existing customers by getting more merchants to accept its cards.
Finally, consumer products manufacturer Colgate-Palmolive (CL) announced plans to extend its restructuring program and cut more jobs that it previously expected. The company now plans to reduce its global workforce by between 3,300 and 3,800. Separately, the company also increased its quarterly dividend 3% to $0.39 per share.