Stock index futures flat; Gap eyed

By @ibtimes on

Stock index futures pointed to a flat opening on Wall Street on Friday, with futures for the S&P 500 up 0.03 percent, Dow Jones futures up 0.02 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures down 0.01 percent at 4 a.m. EDT.

Shares in clothing retailer Gap Inc will be under pressure after it slashed its full-year profit outlook, saying higher price tags will not be enough to offset rising cotton costs, sending its shares down 15 percent in extended trading. Gap shares traded in Frankfurt were down 17 percent.

John Malone's Liberty Media Corp has proposed buying Barnes & Noble Inc for $1.02 billion, nine months after the largest U.S. bookstore chain put itself up for sale.

Big outflows from equity exchange-traded funds overwhelmed actively managed stock mutual funds in the week ended May 18, while municipal bond funds extended their outflow streak, data from Thomson Reuters Lipper showed on Thursday.

Overall, U.S.-domiciled equity funds suffered nearly $6 billion in net outflows, with the vast majority bleeding out of domestic-focused equities.

Oil prices recovered on Friday as traders seized the previous session's dip as a chance to snap up cargoes amid expectations that the concerns over supply disruptions in the Middle East and North Africa would continue to support the market.

European stocks were up 0.4 percent in morning trade, led by a 3 percent rise in BP after MOEX, a unit of Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co <8031.T> and a partner in BP's Macondo Gulf blowout well has agreed to pay the UK oil major $1.1 billion toward the cost of the oil spill.

Tokyo Electric Power Co <9501.T> reported a net loss of $15 billion on Friday to account for the disaster at its Fukushima nuclear power plant, marking Japan's biggest non-financial loss, and it warned its future was uncertain. The company said President Masataka Shimizu, 66, will step down to take responsibility for the disaster and radiation leaks at the plant, making way for an insider, managing director Toshio Nishizawa, 60.

U.S. stocks edged higher on Thursday, with LinkedIn one of the few standouts in an otherwise lackluster session as its shares doubled in their trading debut.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 45.14 points, or 0.4 percent, to 12,605.32. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 2.92 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,343.60. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> added 8.31 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,823.31. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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