RTTNews - Following a notable upward move in the previous session, stocks are poised to extend their gains Friday on the heels of some encouraging gross domestic product data. The major index futures are all in positive territory, with the Dow futures up 43 points.
Economic activity in the first quarter contracted at a slightly slower than previously estimated pace, according to a report released by the Commerce Department, although the report also downwardly revised the pace of consumer spending growth in the quarter.
The report showed that gross domestic product fell 5.7 percent in the first quarter compared to the advance estimate of a 6.1 percent decrease. Economists had been expecting the pace of contraction to be revised to 5.5 percent.
Shortly after the opening bell, trading could be impacted by the release of business activity figures from the Chicago area as well as the Reuters/University of Michigan's revised reading on consumer sentiment for the month of May.
On the corporate front, automaker General Motors (GM) plans to file for bankruptcy protection June 1st, according to reports. Most of the company's assets would be sold to a new company sponsored by the U.S. Treasury Department.
In earnings news, Dell Inc. (DELL), the world's second largest PC maker, reported first quarter net income of $290 million or $0.15 per share, compared to $784 million or $0.38 per share in the prior year period. The company said the quarterly earnings included expenses that weighed down the bottom line by $185 million, or $0.09 per share.
Wall Street analysts expected the company to report earnings of $0.23 per share. Shares of Dell are up in pre-market trading rising by 1.3 percent.
Software service provider Novell Inc. (NOVL) reported adjusted second quarter net income at $29 million or $0.08 per share, compared to $21 million or $0.06 per share in the same period last year. The adjusted results edged out analyst estimates for earnings of $0.06 per share.
Additionally, Marvell Technology (MRVL) reported adjusted first quarter earnings of $0.05 per share compared to $0.24 per share in the year-ago quarter. The adjusted earnings came in line with analyst expectations.
Stocks posted notable gains on Thursday as trader concerns regarding rising interest rates were cooled by a respectable bond auction. The major averages saw some volatility early on before moving firmly into positive territory in the early afternoon. The Dow closed up 104 points, the Nasdaq closed up 21 points and the S&P 500 closed up 14 points.
In early commodities trading, crude oil futures are on the rise, climbing by $1.10 to $66.18 a barrel, while gold futures are soaring, jumping by $12.10 to $973.60 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is plunging against the major European currencies, dropping to $1.4108, a five-month low, against the euro and slipping to $1.6148, a seven-month low against the pound. The dollar is also declining against the yen, falling to 95.76, giving back some of its recent gains.
Stocks markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a modestly strong performance on Friday. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.8 percent, while China's Hang Seng climbed by 1.6 percent.
The major European markets are currently posting notable gains. The French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are up by 1.3 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is also on the rise, climbing by 1.7 percent.
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