Futures Rise on Bernanke Policy Comments

Stock futures were pointing to stronger open Friday as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke signaled that the Fed is carefully considering appropriate accomodative policies for the flagging recovery.
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) -- Stock futures pointed to a stronger open Friday as

Federal Reserve

Chairman Ben Bernanke confirmed the central bank's willingness to provide additional accommodative policies to bolster the economic recovery.

Futures for the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

were up by 31 points, or 45 points above fair value, at 11,083. Futures for the

S&P 500

were ahead by 3 points, or 7 points above fair value, at 1177 and


futures were ahead by 10 points, or 20 points above fair value.

Stocks closed lower Thursday as initial weekly jobless claims climbed to a higher-than-expected level.

In a

speech at a conference on monetary policy in a low-inflation environment, Bernanke said there is a "case for further action" but warned of "the uncertainties associated with the use of nonconventional policy tools." Nevertheless, he said the Fed remains committed to improving employment and price stability through policy action and said the Federal Open Market Committee is "prepared to provide additional accommodation if needed to support the economic recovery and return inflation over time to levels consistent with our mandate."

Prices at the consumer level ticked 0.1% higher in September after rising 0.3% in August. The level was slightly below the 0.2% growth that economists had been anticipating, according to Briefing.com. The core rate, which excludes volatile food and energy costs remained unchanged as it did in August, which was weaker than the 0.1% uptick that economists projected.

Meanwhile, retail sales rose 0.6% in September, exceeding expectations for an increase of 0.4% and coming in just below August's growth of 0.7%. Excluding autos, sales met economists' expectations for an increase of 0.4%, after advancing 1% in August.

Manufacturing activity in the New York region strengthened in October as the Empire Manufacturing Survey came in at 15.73, from 4.10 in September. Economists, according to Breifing.com, had been expecting a reading of 5.75from the New York Fed. The level was much higher than the reading of 5.75, that economists had projected, according to Briefing.com.

Focus will shift to the consumer by 9:55 a.m. EDT when the University of Michigan releases its consumer sentiment report for October. The market is anticipating a slight increase to 68.5 from a previous 68.2.

At 10 a.m., August business inventories are slated to rise by 0.5% after July's increase of 1%.

The afternoon session brings the September Treasury budget report from the U.S. Treasury Department. Economists expect the budget deficit to narrow to $33.5 billion from the prior month's shortfall of $46.6 billion.

Also at 8:30 a.m., the Department of Commerce is anticipated to report that the trade deficit widened to $44.5 billion in August, from $42.8 billion, previously.

In earnings news,

General Electric (GE) - Get Report

topped analysts' estimates with a third-quarter profit of 29 cents a share, although sales of $35.9 billion fell short of expectations.

Hawk (HWK)

agreed to be acquired by

Carlisle Cos

(CSL) - Get Report

for $50 a share, or $413 million.

In commodity markets, November crude oil lost 6 cents, to trade at $82.63 a barrel while the December gold contract added $1 to $1,378.60 an ounce.

Meanwhile, the dollar was trading lower against a basket of currencies with the dollar index down by 0.05% and the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose 6/32, weakening the yield to 2.497%.

Overseas, Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.4% and Japan's Nikkei lost 0.9%. The FTSE in London shed 0.3% while the DAX in Frankfurt was ahead by 0.2%.

--Written by Melinda Peer in New York


Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.