U.S. stock index futures point to a flat open Friday ahead of the Federal Reserve’s Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization report.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.02 percent, the futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were down 0.05 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.06 percent.
Investors will focus on the Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization report, to be published on Friday. The report measures the change in the total inflation-adjusted value of output produced by manufacturers, mines and utilities. It is expected to rise 0.2 percent in October after a 0.4 percent increase in September.
“Industrial Production may have also been affected by the Hurricane, but like the effects on retail sales, we anticipate that since the Hurricane hit at the end of the month, the brunt of the impact may not appear until next month,” Credit Agricole said in a note.
On Thursday, U.S. stocks fell as investor sentiment was weighed down by geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and continuing fears of the looming fiscal cliff. Market confidence turned negative as violence intensified in the Middle East following the air strikes by Israel against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, raising concerns that there could be more attacks in the coming days.
Meanwhile, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Labor Dept., the weekly jobless claims report, which measures the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time, rose to 439,000 in the week ending Nov. 10, up from 355,000 in the previous week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.23 percent, the S&P 500 Index was down 0.16 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.35 percent.
European markets were mixed Friday amid a delay in the European Central Bank's disbursement of the next tranche of bailout funds for Greece. Investors are waiting for the Eurogroup meeting of finance ministers in Brussels next week to make an agreement, which is expected to lead to the release of the funds, which are necessary to stabilize the ailing Greek economy.
London's FTSE 100 was down 7.76 points, Germany's DAX 30 index fell 3.15 points and France's CAC 40 gained 6.29 points.
Most Asian stocks rose Friday amid investors' expectations that Japan’s policy makers will soon announce more monetary easing measures to revive the country’s economy. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 51.27 points, Japan’s Nikkei was up 194.44 points and India’s Sensex gained 54.37 points.