US Stock Futures Point To Higher Open On Friday Ahead Of Federal Budget, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's Speech

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U.S. stock index futures point to a higher open on Friday ahead of the release of Federal Budget after the opening bell and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech scheduled earlier in the day.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.43 percent, the futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were up 0.31 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.35 percent.

The U.S. Treasury is likely to release the Federal Budget numbers at 2 p.m. ET. A Bloomberg consensus on the Federal Budget – a monthly account of the surplus or deficit of the federal government – expects a surplus of $107.5 billion in April, against a $106.5 billion deficit recorded in March. The Bloomberg consensus forecasts a surplus for month of April as tax receipts are up from both individuals and from corporations. And, defense spending is down as are government credits for commerce and housing. Over the past five years, the average surplus for the month of April has been $14.5 billion. The April 2012 surplus came in at $59.1 billion.

Investors also look forward to the U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech at the 49th Annual Conference on Bank Structure and Competition, Chicago, Illinois, 9.30 a.m. EDT as they look for hints on the upcoming monetary policy.

U.S. stocks declined moderately on Thursday, halting Wall Street’s record-setting streak, even as data showed that weekly jobless claims fell to a five-year low.

After rising as much as 39 points and falling as much as 58, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 22.50 points to end at 15,082.62. After five straight record-high finishes, the S&P 500 index lost 0.37% to close at 1,626.67. The Nasdaq Composite declined 0.12 percent or 4.10 points to end the session at 3,409.17.

The data released by the U.S. Labor Department on Thursday showed that the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless aid fell last week to its lowest level in nearly five-and-a-half years. The better-than-expected buoyant data signaled healthy signs in the U.S. labor market and eased fears of a further economic slowdown.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 323,000, the lowest level since January 2008, against economists' expectations of a rise to 335,000. 

"We are not getting a slowing in the second quarter. The claims data provide another set of confirmation that the labor market is healing," Michael Strauss, chief economist at Commonfund in Wilton, Connecticut, told Reuters.

Market sentiment was also boosted by the better-than-expected corporate earnings report posted by Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA), Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ: GMCR) and Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN).

European markets rose in opening minutes of the trade on Friday, scaling new five-year highs ahead of a meeting of the Group of Seven finance ministers and central bank governors in the U.K.

France's CAC-40 was up 0.2 percent, while Germany's DAX-30 rose 2 percent. London's FTSE 100 gained 0.2% in early deals. 

Asian stock markets were trading on a mixed note Friday as depreciation of yen to a 4-year-low against dollar sent the Japanese markets soaring high. U.S. dollar climbed the psychologically important 100-yen level for the first time in four years to trade at 101.06 yen by late afternoon in Tokyo.

Japanese stocks rallied to a five-and-a-half year high to end the day 2.93 percent higher at 14,607.54, while other Asian markets posted marginal gains.    

Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.47 percent to 23,321.22 towards close, while the Chinese Shanghai Composite was up 0.62 percent to 2,246.83. South Korea's KOSPI lost 1.75 percent to 1,944.75.

 

 

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