Futures slip as bank stocks fall on hedge fund default concerns

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(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures dropped on Monday after Wall Street’s surge in the prior session as major lenders came under pressure on concerns over possible spillover effects of a hedge fund’s default on margin calls.

Nomura and Credit Suisse (SIX:CSGN) warned of significant losses after the U.S. hedge fund, named by sources as Archegos Capital, defaulted, hitting shares in some big U.S. media and Chinese tech companies.

The news has sparked fears that other lenders could be in the process of exiting these positions too.

Shares in Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC), Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C), JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) & Co and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) dropped between 0.8% and 3.3% in premarket trading.

Shares in Discovery (NASDAQ:DISCA) Inc rose about 5% after tumbling 27% on Friday, while U.S.-listed shares of Tencent Music rose 4% after nearly halving in value last week. ViacomCBS (NASDAQ:VIAC), Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) and VIPShop fell between 0.2% and 1.5%.

“This incident reminded markets of the dark side of leverage, likely leading some players to cut their risk exposure near record highs to avoid any serious losses if the selling snowballs,” said Marios Hadjikyriacos, investment analyst at online broker XM in Cyprus.

Wall Street’s main indexes surged over 1% in a late-session rally on Friday as investors looking to rebalance their portfolios at the end of the quarter, piled into economy-linked banks, energy, materials as well as technology names.

The Dow and the S&P 500 are less than 1% from their record highs, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq is still about 7.1% from its February all-time high.

At 06:38 a.m. ET, Dow E-minis were down 124 points, or 0.38%, S&P 500 E-minis were down 14.5 points, or 0.37% and Nasdaq 100 E-minis were down 32.75 points, or 0.25%.