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Stock Futures Signal Gains for Wall Street

Among commodities, crude oil is up 66 cents to $124.88 a barrel, and gold futures are off 20 cents at $866.30. The U.S. dollar slips against both the euro and the yen.

Stock index futures were indicating a higher open for Wall Street Thursday, with blue chips and tech stocks alike appearing to be set for early gains.

S&P 500

futures were up 4 points to 1411 and were 2 points above fair value. Nasdaq 100 futures were adding 9 points at 2005 and were 3 points ahead of fair value.

Last time out, the major indices rallied strongly for most of the session thanks to encouraging inflation data, until the final hour, when profit-taking deflated most of those gains.

At the end of the day, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

rose 66 points to 12,898, and the S&P 500 climbed 6 points to 1409. The

Nasdaq Composite

edged up 2 points to 2497.

As the new day began, traders were greeted with word that


(CBS) - Get CBS Corporation Class B Report

would buy Internet media company


(CNET) - Get ChinaNet Online Holdings, Inc. Report

for $1.8 billion. That news lifted CNET by more than 40%, but CBS was slipping 3%.

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General Electric

(GE) - Get General Electric Company (GE) Report

, a component of the Dow, was another early gainer, tacking on 0.7% following a report in

The Wall Street Journal

that the company is considering selling or parting ways with its appliances division. The unit could fetch $5 billion to $8 billion, the report said.

Meanwhile, investors were mulling reports that billionaire investor Carl Icahn -- who was said earlier this week to have begun acquiring large amounts of



stock -- has lined up 10 possible directors to nominate as replacements for the Internet company's board. Yahoo! shares were up 1.7% in the premarket.

Icahn's interest came after


(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Report

walked away from its merger offer for Yahoo!.

Elsewhere, Britain-based bank


(BCS) - Get Barclays PLC Sponsored ADR Report

lost 3.3% after reporting a $1.94 billion writedown and saying its first-quarter profit had withered from last year.

As for economic data, the New York

Federal Reserve

is set to release its state's manufacturing data at 8:30 a.m EDT. At the same time, initial jobless claims are due from the Labor Department, and the U.S. Treasury's net foreign purchases data should come at 9 a.m. EDT.

Among commodities, crude oil was up 66 cents to $124.88 a barrel, and gold futures were off 20 cents at $866.30. The U.S. dollar slipped against both the euro and the yen.

Treasury prices were falling. The 10-year note dipped 3/32 in price to yield 3.93%, and the 30-year bond gave up 8/32 in price, yielding 4.63%.

Markets abroad were mixed. In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 added 0.9% overnight, but the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong slipped 0.1%. As for European bourses, London's FTSE 100 climbed 0.2%. Germany's Xetra Dax and the Paris Cac, however, lost 0.3% and 0.1%, respectively.