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Stock Futures Strengthen After GDP Report


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were strengthening a bit Friday after a second-quarter U.S. gross domestic product report that included an upward revision for the first quarter.

Futures also were rising as traders clung to hopes of greater European Central Bank intervention in the eurozone debt crisis.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 55 points, or 52.07 points above fair value, at 12,880. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 7.2 points, or 6.88 points above fair value, at 1362, while futures for the Nasdaq 100 were up 15.75 points, or 9.7 points above fair value, at 2588.

U.S. stocks soared Thursday with investors seizing on a promise by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi to pull out all stops to keep the eurozone intact. The ECB will do "whatever it takes to preserve the euro," he said. The rally also drew confidence from favorable U.S. economic data, including a fall in weekly initial jobless claims and an increase in durable goods orders.

The Commerce Department said Friday that the U.S. economy grew by an annual rate of 1.5% in the second quarter after an upwardly revised 2% increase in the first quarter. The advance estimate was in line with expectations, according to a Thomson Reuters survey of economists.

The Commerce Department said growth in the U.S. economy reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures, exports, nonresidential fixed investment, private inventory investment, and residential fixed investment. They were partly offset by negative contributions from state and local government spending.

At 9:55 a.m. the final read on the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index will be released and is expected to be in line with the preliminary print of 72.

The FTSE in London was up 0.16% and the DAX in Germany was up 0.19%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng index settled higher by 2.02% and the Nikkei in Japan closed up 1.46%.

September crude oil futures were up 17 cents at $89.56 a barrel. August gold futures were up by $8.40 at $1,623.50 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury fell 2/32, raising the yield to 1.453%. The greenback was trading sideways, according to the dollar index.

On the corporate front, Facebook (FB), the social networking giant, on Thursday posted in-line quarterly profit that failed to impress Wall Street.

Facebook reported non-GAAP earnings of $295 million, or 12 cents a share, on revenue of $1.18 billion. Analysts were expecting profit of 12 cents a share in the June-ended period on revenue of $1.15 billion.

Shares were plunging more than 13% in premarket trading.

Amazon.com (AMZN), the online retailer, delivered mixed second-quarter results after the market closed Thursday.

The Seattle-based company reported profit of $7 million, or 1 cent a share, on revenue of $12.83 billion. The latest results included a net loss of $65 million related to the acquisition and integration of Kiva Systems.

Analysts were expecting second-quarter profit of 2 cents a share on revenue of $12.88 billion.

For the third quarter ending in September, Amazon forecast an operating loss of between $50 million and $350 million and revenue ranging from $12.9 billion to $14.3 billion. Wall Street's current consensus estimate is for earnings of 14 cents a share in the current quarter on revenue of $14.09 billion.

Shares were rising 1.17%.

Drug maker Merck (MRK) reported second-quarter earnings excluding items of $1.05 a share, surpassing the Wall Street target of $1.01 a share. Shares were rising 2.7%.

Barclays (BCS) said Friday the U.K.'s financial regulator has started a probe of four current and former senior employees, including the bank's finance chief.

The issue involves the "sufficiency of disclosure" in relation to fees paid when Barclays conducted an emergency €7.3 billion capital increase with Middle Eastern investors in 2008, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The U.K. bank last month reached a settlement with U.K. and U.S. regulators after it admitted to trying to manipulate the London interbank offered rate.

Barclays on Friday announced first-half profit that exceeded forecasts.

Shares were popping more than 6%.


-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.



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

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