U.S. stock index futures point to a slightly higher open Friday ahead of the Bureau of Economic Analysis' trade deficit report.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.06 percent, the futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were up 0.05 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.12 percent.
Investors are expected to focus on the trade deficit report to be released Friday. The report, which measures the difference in value between the imported and exported goods and services over the reported period, is expected to fall to $46 billion in December from $48.7 billion in November.
On Thursday, U.S. stocks fell following disappointing quarterly earnings reports announced by companies. Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S) reported Thursday that the company’s net loss rose to $1.32 billion or $0.44 per share in the fourth quarter, up from $1.30 billion or $0.43 per share in the same period the earlier year. News Corp. (NASDAQ: NWSA) reported that the company’s net income rose to $2.38 billion or $1.01 per share in the second quarter, up from $1.06 billion or $0.42 per share in the same period last year.
Meanwhile, according to data released on Thursday by the Department of Labor, jobless claims for individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time last week fell to 366,000 in the week ending Feb. 2 from 371,000 the previous week.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.30 percent, the S&P 500 Index declined 0.18 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.11 percent.
European markets rose Friday with London's FTSE 100 moving up 32.90 points, Germany's DAX 30 index rising 21.09 points and France's CAC 40 gaining 19.16 points.
Most of the Asian stock markets rose Friday as China’s inflation rate slowed down in January compared with the same period the previous year, increasing the prospects for further loosening of the country's monetary policy. Data from the National Bureau of Statistics released on Friday showed that the consumer price index of China rose 2 percent in January compared with the same period in the previous year, down from 2.5 percent in December.
China’s Shanghai Composite advanced 13.87 points, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 46.08 points, Japan’s Nikkei moved down 203.91 points and India’s Sensex gained 25.25 points.