Global rate cuts lift futures but off highs

NEW YORK - US stock index futures rose in choppy trade, pointing to a higher Wall Street open on Wednesday, after the Federal Reserve slashed interest rates in concert with other global central banks to calm jittery markets.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Wed 8 Oct 2008, 6:28 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 2:14 PM

Futures pointed higher after five straight days of major declines by stocks. However, the futures were off their highs, suggesting investors have doubts whether the actions would have a lasting effect on recent unprecedented market turmoil.

The cut in rates came on the heels of an overnight stock market plunge in Asia, where the Nikkei slid more than 9 percent, and declines in Europe, where fallout from the credit crisis prompted Britain to pump $87 billion of emergency capital to shore up its banks.

‘This rate move is just about psychology,’ said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in New York. ‘Like any of the crises before, you need to see a major psychology shift. It's a slow process.’

He expected trading to be cautious and volatile, saying the market had long anticipated such action by the central banks.

Financial shares were likely to benefit, with the electronic-traded fund that tracks the financial sector up 2.3 percent.

S&P 500 futures rose 23.20 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures climbed 139 points and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 31 points.

The interbank cost of borrowing overnight dollars jumped again on Wednesday, indicating that credit markets remained gridlocked, according to the latest daily fixing from the British Bankers' Association, just before coordinated interest rate cuts.

Besides the Fed, the European Central Bank, Bank of England, Swiss, Canadian and Swedish central banks announced rate reductions.

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