NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The budget plan debate has begun in Italy, and Billy Crystal is returning to host the Oscars for the first time since 2004. That's about all the news that's floating around this quiet Friday morning.
The bond market is closed for Veteran's Day, so trading is likely to be subdued throughout the session. Italy isn't expected to approve the austerity measures until sometime this weekend, an event that should trigger Silvio Berlusconi's resignation as prime minister. U.S. stock futures are rising already, building on Thursday's mild gain, so the ingredients for a slow melt-up seem to be in place.
Strong earnings from Dow component Walt Disney (DIS), which tacked on 6% in after-hours trading, will give provide support for the blue-chip index, which is starting the day at 11,894, up 2.7% so far in 2011, 5.4% from where it was a year ago, and 11.6% from this year's closing low of 10,655 on Oct. 3.
Nvidia's (NVDA) stock should also be a standout gainer on Friday, although most of the analyst feedback following the company's third-quarter report was fairly restrained. "While we are not fans of NVDA the stock, we have to give credit to the company for transforming its business away from what we believe to be a secularly flattish to down, tied-to-the-PC, discrete graphics business," said BMO Capital in its note following the results. "However, in the process of this transformation, higher opex likely caps EPS leverage for some time, in our view." The firm kept its market perform (the equivalent of a hold) rating on the stock, and Jefferies, ThinkEquity and Canaccord Genuity all offered up similar reiterations of the same sentiment: Things are getting better but they still aren't all that great. After Thursday's close, the graphics chip maker reported fiscal third-quarter earnings of $178.3 million, or 29 cents a share, on revenue of $1.07 billion, beating Wall Street's consensus earnings view by 3 cents. The stock rose nearly 5% in after-hours action to $15.14 on volume of almost 1.8 million.
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