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Stock Futures Gain as Yen Drops to Four-Year Low, German Exports Rise

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures were pointing to a rebound Friday as overseas markets rallied on big yen-to-greenback moves driven by optimism about the U.S. economy and an encouraging German economic report.

G-7 finance ministers and central bank chiefs begin a two-day meeting in the U.K., where they are expected to talk about ways to bolster the slow global economic recovery.

"It's a headline-moving market and early headlines are focusing on the yen and German March trade data," Jonathan Corpina, senior managing partner at Meridian Equity Partners said in an email.

Futures for the S&P 500 were rising 1.5 points, or 2.83 points above fair value, to 1,626.

ArcelorMittal (MT) was rising 5.3% to $13.43 in premarket trading after the steelmaker reported a smaller-than-expected decline in profit and stood by its earnings projections for the year in light of to deep cost-cuts in Europe.

Gap (GPS) was gaining 4.6% to $40.61 after the apparel retailer reported a 7% increase in April same-store sales driven by increases at Old Navy and produced an earnings guidance that also exceeded forecasts. Canaccord Genuity has raised its price target on Gap to $40 from $39 a share.

Molycorp (MCP) was jumping 8.6% to $6.07 after the rare earths company posted a first-quarter adjusted loss of 15 cents a share, narrower than the loss of 31 cents analysts were expecting. Revenue rose 9% to $146.4 million; analysts forecast revenue of $135.6 million.

Gold Fields (GFI) was slipping 3.51% to $6.60 after the gold producer's earnings fell 66% as output and precious metal prices declined.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were higher by 21 points, or 25.38 points above fair value, to 15,065. Futures for the Nasdaq were ahead by 5.5 points, or 6.18 points above fair value, to 2,963.5.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan settled higher by 2.9% to a five-and-a-half year high of 14,607.54 led by exporter and financial stocks as the Japanese currency breached the 100 yen to U.S. dollar mark for the first time since April 2009 as investors became more optimistic about the U.S. economy after strong reports on the U.S. labor market. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index finished up 0.47% to 23,321.22, its highest level in nearly three months, spearheaded by cyclical stocks, despite mixed China data.

European markets gained after the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden reported that German exports rose in March after falling in February, fueling optimism that Europe's biggest economy is improving from the contraction that set in at the end of 2012 and after a handful of stronger-than-anticipated corporate earnings releases.

The FTSE 100 in the U.K. was rising 0.14% while the DAX in Germany was gaining 0.19%, both easing off intraday highs.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is expected to begin speaking at the Chicago Fed banking conference at 9:30 a.m. EDT.

At 2 p.m., Kansas City Fed President Esther George gives a speech on the economy in Jackson, Wyo.

The U.S. Treasury's monthly budget report will be out at 2 p.m.

Gold for June delivery was falling $34.70 to $1,433.90 an ounce. June oil futures were down $1.72 to $94.67 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was sliding 10/32, raising the yield to 1.846%. The dollar was up 0.25% to $83 according to the U.S. dollar index.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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

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