U.S. Markets Aiming for Big Quarterly Gains as Europe Casts Shadow

The Dow is on track for its best first quarter gain in 15 years, and the S&P 500 is within reach of its all-time closing high.

But it will be Europe that could decide how investors close the books in the first quarter Thursday. Cyprus is set to reopen its banks for the first time in nearly two weeks, and traders will be watching for headlines from there and other parts of the euro zone. European officials have tried to ring fence Cyprus as a special case, not to be repeated, but investors are watching carefully to see what the impact of capital controls will be on the small country – and on banks.

U.S. stocks and other risk markets were rocked Wednesday by a sharp selloff in the euro. The euro broke below 1.28 for the first time since November, after it appeared Italy could not form a government without another election. European stock markets traded lower, and peripheral sovereign yields rose.


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