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TheStreet Open House

Stock Futures Trade Flat as Iraq Troubles Weigh

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures on Friday were eyeing possible weekly gains for the major U.S. indices, bolstered by the Federal Reserve's supportive policy announcement mid-week. But further upside remained restricted by the troubles igniting in Iraq.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were little changed, up 1 point, or 5.46 points below fair value, to 16,834. S&P 500 futures were up 0.5 points, or 0.53 points below fair value, to 1,950.75. Nasdaq futures were up 1.3 points, or 1.55 points below fair value, to 3,790.3. Higher-than-usual volume is expected Friday as the quadruple witching, options expiration day takes hold.

The rally on European markets was beginning to fade Friday morning although most markets were still in positive territory with many relying on defensive stocks in the health care and resources sectors to keep the mood alive as tensions in the Middle East continued to rage.

President Barack Obama has sent 300 U.S. Special Operations troops to support the Iraqi army in combatting insurgents from the al-Qaeda splinter group, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). President Obama said additional action is possible if needed, but that combat troops will not be sent to Iraq.

Jeffrey Saut, Raymond James' chief investment strategist, wrote that while Wednesday's "Fed Fling" could carry into Friday's option expiration, he still thinks the 1950-1975 level could offer stiff resistance in the short-term. "While the market's daily internal energy has been rebuilt, the weekly has not," he predicted. "If we do get a pullback, it should be contained at the 1940-1950 level."

Stocks in focus Friday include Siemens (SI), General Electric (GE), AbbVie (ABBV), and Oracle (ORCL).

Oracle was declining 6.21% in premarket trading after the business software maker posted fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that missed analysts' estimates. Germany's Siemens and Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries raised their joint proposal for Alstom following GE's sweetened bid for the French company's energy business. Shire, the U.K. drugmaker, rejected a $46.35 billion takeover bid from rival AbbVie.

The S&P 500 quietly broke a record high Thursday as markets made up for slight losses earlier in the day.

-- By Andrea Tse in New York

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