The U.S. stock index futures point to a flat open Friday ahead of the Department of Labor's import price index and the Bureau of Economic Analysis's trade deficit report.
The futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.04 percent, the futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were down 0.03 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.02 percent.
The Department of Labor will report the import price index, which measures the change in the price of imported goods and services purchased domestically, Friday. The index is expected to rise 0.1 in December from a 0.9 percent decrease in November.
Investors are expected to focus on the trade deficit report to be released Friday. Trade deficit, which measures the difference in value between the imported and exported goods and services over the reported period, is expected to fall to $41.3 billion in November from $42.2 billion in October.
On Thursday, the U.S. stocks rose as investor confidence was lifted by an encouraging economic indicator from China. China’s trade surplus gained in December in comparison to that in the previous month, in an indication that the world’s second-largest economy is reviving its growth momentum. According to the data released Thursday by the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the country’s trade surplus rose to $31.6 billion in December, against $19.6 billion in November.
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Meanwhile, according to the data released Thursday by the Department of Labor, the weekly jobless claims report, which measures the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time, rose to 371,000 in the week ending Jan. 5, from 367,000 in the previous week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.60 percent, the S&P 500 Index was up 0.76 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.51 percent.
Asian stocks were mixed Friday as investor confidence was weighed down by report that China’s inflation rate accelerated in December higher than expected indicating that the country’s inflationary pressures continue to increase, lowering prospects for further loosening of monetary policy. The data from the National Bureau of Statistics released Friday show that the consumer price index of China rose 2.5 percent in December from that in the previous year, from 2 percent in November and above the analysts’ expectation of 2.3 percent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Composite fell 117.40 points, Japan’s Nikkei rose 148.93 points and South Korea’s Kospi was down 10.13 points.
European stocks rose Friday tracking overnight U.S markets. London's FTSE 100 was up 12.32 points, Germany's DAX 30 rose 17.90 points and France's CAC 40 gained 4.35 points.