Investors late Thursday took their attention off earnings and began betting that GDP will have grown more than expected, pushing futures for U.S. markets into the green.
Futures for the S&P 500 were up 0.11%, the Dow Jones Industrials 0.08% and Nasdaq 0.16% at 9:31 p.m. EDT.
Figures for Q3 GDP will be released Friday. Many economists now believe the economy grew at 3% in the most recent quarter, after earlier projecting growth of 2.5%. Strong economic indicators would support an expected December rate increase but also reassure investors that the economy won't be harmed by higher interest rates.
The optimism was outweighed by ongoing concerns over Q3 earnings in the regular trading session Thursday, leaving the S&P off 0.3%, the Dow 0.16% and Nasdaq 0.65%.
Asian markets were mixed early in the final trading day of the week as Japanese shares benefited from a weaker yen, while oil's gains Thursday weighed on investors elsewhere. The Nikkei in Japan gained 0.43% while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 0.24%, the Kospi in South Korea 0.29% and the ASX in Australia 0.53%.
Europe was also mixed Thursday with the Cac in France closing 0.02% lower while the FTSE gained 0.41% in London and Germany's Dax added 0.07%.
In currencies, the yen made it past the psychological ¥105/$1 mark Thursday but pulled back as Asia awoke, slipping 0.35%, to ¥105.201, while the pound slid 0.028% against the dollar to £0.8213 at 9:55 p.m. EDT.
Oil also retreated from Thursday gains in early Asian trade with industry standard Brent crude off a penny at $50.46 per barrel while U.S. crude slid a similar 1 cent, to $49.71, per barrel. The prices represent futures for December delivery and were current as of 9:44 p.m. EDT.
In after-hours trading, oilfield services company Baker Hughes (BHI) saw its shares leap 7.2%, to $58.50, after the Wall Street Journal said Fairfield, Conn.-based General Electric (GE) - Get Report was in talks to buy it for as much as $30 billion.
In a release, GE confirmed it was in talks with Houston-based Baker but that it was more interested in a cooperation and that it wouldn't buy the company outright.
After today's closing bell, the Winston Salem, N.C.-based clothing company said it anticipates fourth-quarter revenue of $1.70 billion to $1.73 billion, higher than analysts' view of $1.69 billion.
Hanes projects adjusted earnings per share of 57 cents to 60 cents for the fourth quarter. Wall Street is looking for earnings of 59 cents per share.
Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, is long GE.