US stocks advanced in early trade on Friday after the Group of Seven (G-7) Finance ministers had agreed to intervene in the markets to stabilize the Japanese yen.
The S&P 500 Index advanced 14.24 points, or 1.12 percent, to trade at 1,287.96 at 9:55 a.m. EDT. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 136.94 points, or 1.16 percent, to trade at 11,911.53. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.93 percent.
Intervening for the first time in currency markets since 2000, the G-7 officials said that the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the European Central Bank will join Japan in concerted intervention in exchange markets from Friday.
The yen plunged 2.63 percent to 80.9650 against greenback after the Federal Reserve confirmed it is buying dollars against the yen.
Meanwhile, the nuclear crisis at the quake-damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant is now rated just two notches below the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine after Japanese authorities raised the alert level at the site to five from four (on a seven-point global scale for such incidents). Fukushima is now on the same level as the 1979 Three Mile Island crisis in the U.S.
On the corporate front, Nike, Inc. (NYSE:NKE) shares plunged 9.23 percent to $77.62 after its third quarter earnings fell short of expectations. The company reported third quarter net income of $523 million or $1.08 per share compared to $497 million or $1.01 per share in the same quarter last year, while analysts estimated net income of $1.11 per share.
Shares of Celera Corp. (NASDAQ:CRA) climbed 31.18 percent after Quest Diagnostics Inc. (NYSE: DGX) announced an agreement to acquire the diagnostics kit maker for $8 per share to gain immediate access to genetic tests and pipeline of biomarkers.
U.S. stocks rallied on Thursday, bouncing back from three straight days of losses as better-than-expected reports on jobless claims and Consumer Price Index (CPI) buoyed sentiment, and FedEx Corp. boosted its profit forecast.
Crude oil futures declined 0.30 percent to $101.12/barrel and gold futures rose 1 percent.
European stock markets are currently trading higher with FTSE 100 up by 42.03 points, DAX30 up by 87.87 points and CAC 40 up by 62.74 points.