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Stock Futures Rise on Central Bank Stimulus Talk


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were holding gains Friday as investors largely shrugged off a weaker-than-expected read on New York manufacturing activity as they cheered reports that the central banks of the world's biggest economies would stage a coordinated response to calm the markets should the outcome of Greece's general elections cause panic.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 27 points, or 55.1 points above fair value, at 12,633. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 1.3 points, or 5 points above fair value, at 1328, and futures for the Nasdaq 100 were up 5.8 points, or 6.6 points above fair value, at 2540.

U.S. stocks jumped Thursday on rising hopes that additional stimulus is on the way from the Federal Reserve following a disappointing initial jobless claims number, and following a report by Reuters that G20 central banks are planning for coordinated action to bring liquidity if needed after the Greek elections on Sunday.

"The ECB has the crucial role of providing liquidity to sound bank counterparties in return for adequate collateral," said European Central Bank President Mario Draghi as he joined other central bankers of major economies who asserted they would take steps toward coordinated efforts if chaos ensued in the aftermath of the Greek elections.

"This is what we have done throughout the crisis ... and this is what we will continue to do," he said.

The FTSE in London was rising 0.5% and the DAX in Germany was up 1%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng closed ahead by 2.3% and the Japan Nikkei Average finished flat.

July crude oil futures were up 48 cents at $84.39 a barrel. August gold futures were up $5.10 to $1,624.70 an ounce.

The Federal Reserve Bank New York reported Friday that its Empire State Manufacturing Index showed a much steeper-than-expected decline to 2.29 in June, the lowest level going back to last November, from 17.1 in May. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com expected a fall to 10.

Other U.S. data on tap for Friday includes industrial production and capacity utilization for May at 9:15 a.m. and the preliminary reading of the University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey for June at 9:55 a.m.

The Federal Reserve is expected to say that industrial production rose 0.1% in May and cooled, after a 1.1% gain in April, according to a survey of economists by Briefing.com. Capacity utilization is expected to stay unchanged at 79.2% for May.

The Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index may show fall to 77 in June from 79.3 May.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was up 8/32, diluting the yield to 1.615%, while the dollar was falling 0.2%, according to the dollar index.

In corporate news, Yammer agreed to sell itself to Microsoft (MSFT) for $1.2 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

It's unclear when the acquisition of Yammer, the business-software company, will be completed and announced, said a person familiar with the deal, the Journal reported.

Dell (DELL - Get Report) is the "strategic bidder" that offered to buy Quest Software (QSFT) for $2.15 billion in cash, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

PC maker Dell is the unidentified company mentioned in a statement made by Quest, which disclosed on Thursday that it had received an offer from a "strategic bidder" of $25.50 a share, Reuters said.

The reported Dell bid tops an earlier offer of nearly $2 billion from private investment firm Insight Venture Partners.

United Technologies (UTX) received conditional approval from China for its $16.5 billion takeover of Goodrich (GR), the maker of aircraft parts.

Goodrich will be forced to divest its electrical power generation and transmission systems businesses and should sell 60% of joint venture Aerolec within six months, said China's Commerce Ministry.


-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.



>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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