U.S. stock index futures point to a higher open Friday, ahead of the Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech at the Jackson Hole symposium where he is expected to announce another round of monetary easing.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.18 percent, those on the Standard & Poor’s 500 index were up 0.13 percent, while the Nasdaq 100 index futures were up 0.15 percent.
The University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters will publish its Consumer Sentiment Index, evaluating the relative level of current and future economic conditions based on consumer confidence, which is derived from at least 500 telephone interviews conducted each month in the United States. The revised version of the data is expected to remain unchanged at 73.6 in August from the preliminary version but up from 72.3 in July.
The Commerce Department's factory orders report will be released later Friday. The report, which measures the change in the total value of new purchase orders placed with manufacturers each month, is expected to rise 1.9 percent in July, up from a 0.5 percent decrease in June. The report will also include a revision of the durable goods orders data released about a week earlier, as well as new data on non-durable goods orders.
On Thursday, U.S. markets fell as hopes on quantitative easing measures to be announced by the Fed faded following positive economic reports. According to the Labor Department's weekly U.S. jobless claims data reported Thursday, a number of new claims remained unchanged at 374,000 in the week ending Aug. 25. Meanwhile personal income, as detailed by the Department of Commerce's Personal Income and Outlays report, saw a rise of 0.3 percent in July in line with expectations.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.81 percent, the S&P 500 Index was down 0.78 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index declined 1.05 percent.
Major European indices remained in a tight range Friday as investor confidence continued to be weighed down by fading hopes on the European Central Bank to announce policy measures to boost the euro zone economy and revive growth momentum. London’s FTSE 100 was down 8.56 points, Germany's DAX 30 Index fell 4.08 points and France's CAC 40 marginally rose 0.59 points.
Asian markets fell Friday as investor confidence was weighed down amid increasing concerns about the global economy after data showed a fall in the industrial output of Japan and South Korea. According to the data released Friday by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the country's industrial production saw a decline of 1.2 percent in July down from a 0.4 percent increase in June.
Meanwhile, according to the data released Friday by the National Statistical Office, the industrial production in South Korea saw a decline of 1.6 percent in July, down from a 0.6 percent decrease in June.