U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open on Friday, ahead of the release of U.S. producer price inflation data later in the day, as investors eyed the Federal Reserve''s last policy meeting of the year, scheduled next week.
Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.23% rise, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.37% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.38% increase.
Equity markets were jittery after U.S. data on Thursday added to expectations the Fed will begin to scale back its USD85 billion a month asset purchase program at next week’s policy meeting.
The Commerce Department said U.S. retail sales rose 0.7% in November, above expectations for a 0.6% increase. Core retail sales rose 0.4%, above forecasts for a 0.2% increase.
Separately, the Department of Labor said the number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week rose to a two month high of 368,000, compared to expectations for an increase to 320,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 300,000.
Financial stocks were expected to be active, after Bank of America agreed to pay USD131.8 million to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges that its Merrill Lynch unit misled investors about mortgage-backed securities.
Shares in the U.S. lender were up 0.13% in pre-market trade.
Texas Industries was also likely to be in focus amid reports its owners are exploring a sale of the Dallas-based building materials company. The news sent shares surging 9.33% in extended trade.
In similar news, American International Group, which has been unable to complete the sale of its jet-leasing business to a group of Chinese bidders, was said to be now in talks to sell that unit to AerCap Holdings.
Among auto companies, General Motors announced plans to sell its entire stake in Peugeot, sending shares in the French carmaker down 9.45% in European trade. GM edged up 0.10% after hours.
Other stocks likely to be in focus included Landstar Systems, scheduled to release quaterly earnings later in the day.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were higher. The EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.38%, France’s CAC 40 advanced 0.31%, Germany''s DAX added 0.25%, while Britain''s FTSE 100 edged 0.19% higher.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng Index added 0.12%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index gained 0.40%.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to release data on producer price inflation.
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