The U.S. stock index futures point to a higher open Friday ahead of the release of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for November by the Department of Labor and the Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization report by the Federal Reserve.
The futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.39 percent, the futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were up 0.45 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.28 percent.
Investors are expected to focus on the Department of Labor's CPI for November to be published Friday. The CPI, which measures the change in the price of goods and services from consumers' perspective, is expected to fall 0.1 percent in November, down from a 0.1 percent rise in October.
Investors will also focus on the Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization report, to be published 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 0.3 percent in November after a 0.4 percent decrease in October.
On Thursday, the U.S. stocks fell as investor sentiment turned negative following the uncertainty over the progress made by the Congress leaders in reaching an agreement to avert the looming fiscal cliff and prevent the scheduled rise in tax rates and spending cuts from pushing the economy into recession early next year.
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 343,000 in the week ending Dec. 8, down from 372,000 in the previous week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.56 percent, the S&P 500 Index was down 0.63 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.72 percent.
European markets rose Friday amid optimism following the agreement among EU leaders on forming a banking union and releasing the next tranche of Greek loans. London's FTSE 100 was up 4.24 points, Germany's DAX 30 index rose 14.95 points and France's CAC 40 gained 3.61 points.
Most of the Asian stocks rose as investor confidence was lifted to note that manufacturing activity expanded in China in November. The preliminary reading of the HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index, a measure of the nationwide manufacturing activity, rose to 50.9 in December compared to 50.5 in November. Significantly, the index remained in the expansion zone, a reading above 50. The expansion of the manufacturing activity should allay the fears about a sharp retardation of the Chinese economy.
China’s Shanghai Composite gained 90.36 points, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 127.94 points and India’s Sensex was up 44.13 points.