Futures bounced back for a second day on Friday but Japan's nuclear crisis and rising oil prices on possible military action against Libya could keep Wall Street on track for its worst week in seven months.
Financial stocks will be in focus after the Wall Street Journal reported the largest U.S. banks will be notified Friday whether they passed a second round of stress tests, allowing them to raise their dividends.
Banks, industrial, and natural resource stocks rose in premarket trading. JPMorgan Chase & Co
The downward moves this week were really driven by fear of nuclear apocalypse, said Kim Caughey Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh. I don't know that things have gotten much better, but things haven't gotten worse.
S&P 500 futures rose 9.8 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 rose 87 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures put on 17.25 points.
Brent crude oil rose 1 percent to over $116 a barrel after the United Nations approved military action to contain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, heightening tensions in the oil-rich Middle East and North Africa.
In a move to calm financial markets anxious about the nuclear crisis in quake-ravaged Japan, the Bank of Japan bought billions of dollars to restrain a soaring yen and were backed by European central banks' actions.
Japanese engineers conceded that burying a crippled nuclear plant in sand and concrete -- the method used to seal huge leakages from Chernobyl in 1986 -- may be a last resort to prevent a catastrophic radiation release.
Global equities continued to snap back after heavy losses. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares <.FTEU3> was up 0.3 percent, while Japan's Nikkei average <.N225> jumped 2.7 percent.
U.S. food company General Mills Inc
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)