Stocks Lean Towards 3-Day Rally

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U.S. Stocks moved towards a higher opening on Friday, buoyed by strong earnings from Microsoft and a quick decision to implement a U.S. economic stimulus package boosted investors confidence.

Following the biggest global stocks rally in two and a half years on Thursday, U.S. stocks are set to make their first string of three consecutive days of gains since December, and first weekly rise in five weeks.

Congressional leaders and the White House reached a swift agreement on Thursday on the details of an economic stimulus package that would give most tax filers refunds of $600 to individuals and $1,200 to families. The package that would give a total of 117 million to U.S. families.

The stimulus eased concerns over a potential U.S. recession and helped push European and Asian stocks higher on Friday. The agreement came less than a week after President George W. Bush said a proposal was in the works.

Earlier on Friday, recession concerns forced global equity markets to drop, causing the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates by 0.75 percent.

Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, said its profit increased to $4.71 billion, or 50 cents per share, from $2.63 billion, or 26 cents per share in the same period last year. The company said its profit

in the year ending June 30 will be $1.85 to $1.88 a share, on sales of $59.9 billion to $60.5 billion ahead of analysts' estimates of $1.81 and sales of $59.4 billion.

Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 70, or 0.57 percent, to 12,435. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures rose 7.80, or 0.58 percent, to 1,360.00, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 20.00, or 1.09 percent, to 1,857.00.

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