U.S. stock index futures suggest a higher opening to markets on Friday after the U.S. economy beat expectations to expand sharply in the second quarter of 2013, riding on exports.
Investors will also be watching data on personal income and consumption expenditure in the U.S., official figures from the euro zone on unemployment and consumer confidence, and weigh the implications of the Syria stand-off on the prices of commodities such as metals and oil. The Chicago purchasing managers’ index, or PMI, and the Thomson Reuters-University of Michigan consumer sentiment index are also due to be released Friday morning.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were flat, while futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were up 0.12 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.19 percent.
“News that the U.K. House of Commons has voted against military action in Syria, and reports that the U.S. is finding it difficult to marshal conclusive evidence that the [Syrian] regime was directly responsible for chemical attacks, have seen the risk premium in markets like gold and oil wound back,” Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, told Market Watch.
In Europe, markets traded lower on Friday, as the unemployment rate in the euro zone remained unchanged at 12.1 percent in July compared to June. Year-on-year inflation rate for August stood at 1.3 percent, while core inflation rate on a yearly basis remained unchanged at 1.1 percent in August compared to July. And, the euro zone business confidence index improved to -0.21 in August from -0.53 in July.
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The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.46 percent, London’s FTSE 100 lost 0.41 percent, Germany's DAX-30 was down 0.41 percent and France's CAC-40 was trading down 0.45 percent. Data released on Friday showed retail sales in Germany decreased 1.4 percent in July 2013 over the previous month but increased 2.30 percent as compared to July 2012, while Italy's unemployment rate fell marginally to 12 percent in July from 12.1 percent in the previous month.
In Asia, markets were choppy during Friday trade, ahead of the month’s end and after a good showing by the U.S. economy, which heightened concerns that the U.S. Federal Reserve may begin winding down its bond-buying program soon. The UK’s rejection of a vote on military action in Syria caused oil and metal prices to drop, as worries over an imminent crisis in Syria eased.
Japan’s Nikkei dropped 0.53 percent at close while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.84 percent. In China, the Shanghai Composite index ended up 0.06 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.12 percent, while South Korea’s KOSPI Composite index gained 0.99 percent at close.
In India, the benchmark BSE Sensex was trading up 1.16 percent, ahead of second-quarter data on gross domestic product, or GDP, and fiscal deficit figures.