Stock futures higher as commodity prices rise

By @ibtimes on

U.S. stock index futures rose on Friday, led by energy and material stocks, as optimism about increased economic demand pushed commodity prices higher.

Copper prices rose 1.8 percent. Brent crude prices rose 1.5 percent, as attacks on Libyan oil fields raised the prospect of long-term supply cuts. U.S.-listed shares of miner Rio Tinto Plc rose 1.5 percent to $73.48 in premarket trading.

In Japan, dollar-denominated Nikkei futures advanced 2.7 percent. The country was hit by another large earthquake on Thursday, though the aftershock didn't cause a tsunami or any damage at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which was crippled in the March 11 quake.

Thursday's earthquake sent U.S. equities lower on renewed concerns about the country's nuclear power crisis, though the markets pared losses on positive domestic data.

European stocks resumed a rally as the European Central Bank's decision on Thursday to raise interest rates helped fuel optimism about the health of the euro zone economy.

S&P 500 futures rose 5.4 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 added 40 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 6.25 points.

The White House and Congress faced a midnight deadline to break a U.S. budget deadlock and avoid a government shutdown. President Barack Obama and congressional leaders failed to reach a deal in late-night talks on Thursday.

Data on February wholesale inventories will be released at 10 a.m., which are seen rising 1 percent.

There are no S&P 500 companies scheduled to report quarterly results on Friday. On Monday earnings season begins in earnest, with Alcoa Inc , JPMorgan Chase & Co and Google Inc among the stocks on tap to report next week.

The initial public offering of CVR Partners LP, a unit of oil refiner CVR Energy Inc , raised $307 million on Thursday, pricing units above the proposed range.

Stocks closed slightly lower on Thursday on concerns about the impact of Japan's earthquake, though a drop in initial jobless claims and some strong retail sales data prevented further losses.

(Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Kenneth Barry)

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