U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open on Friday, ahead of the release of U.S. economic growth data, while markets were still digesting recent news the Federal Reserve will begin tapering its stimulus program in January.
Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.12% gain, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.16% rise, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.16% increase.
The Fed announced Wednesday that it would reduce its USD85 billion-a-month bond buying program by USD10 billion in January. In his last press conference as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the economy was continuing to make progress.
The U.S. central bank reiterated that interest rates are likely to remain low even after the unemployment rate drops below 6.5%, the threshold at which the Fed has previously said it would start to consider rate increases.
Investors were eyeing the release of U.S. gross domestic product data later in the day, after a batch of mixed economic reports on Thursday fuelled fresh uncertainty over the strength of the U.S. economic recovery.
Yahoo was likely to be in focus, following reports the operator of theU.S. Web portal is restoring a multitasking tool for its online e-mail service after user complaints following a redesign two months ago.
Shares in the company rose 0.37% in after-hour trade.
Microsoft was also expected to be active, after a former executive and his friend reportedly made insider trades before company announcements, using disposable “burner phones” and stacks of cash to secretly reap more than USD393,000.
Also in the tech sector, InterDigital dove 9.72% after hours as the mobile-phone design company that said its executives were threatened for pursuing patent-infringement claims against one of China’s largest telecommunications companies, lost its case at a U.S. trade agency.
In earnings news, Nike said late Thursday that second-quarter profit topped analysts’ estimates, thanks to higher-priced shoes. Shares in the sporting-goods company were still down 0.17% in extended trading.
Other stocks likely to be in focus included BlackBerry, Carmax and Walgreen, all scheduled to release quarterly earnings later in the day.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were higher. The EURO STOXX 50 climbed 0.64%, France’s CAC 40 added 0.17%, Germany''s DAX gained 0.54%, while Britain''s FTSE 100 inched up 0.02%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng Index slid 0.33%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index edged up 0.07%.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to release revised data on third quarter GDP.
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