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Stocks Futures Signal Early Gains

The U.S. market appears set to extend the prior session's rally.
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The market was set to extend on the prior session's gains Friday amid further strength in the U.S. dollar.

Futures on the

S&P 500

were rising 8 points to 1394, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 9 points at 1930.

In the last session, the major averages closed on an upswing, in spite of some poor earnings, thanks to a surging greenback and cooling crude oil prices. At the end of the day, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

rose 86 points to 12,849, and the S&P 500 added 9 points to 1389. The

Nasdaq Composite

climbed 24 points to 2429.

Ahead of the new session's opening bell, the dollar was firmer by another 0.6% against the euro at $1.5597. Against the yen, it was rising to 104.34.

On the corporate side, Dow component

American Express

(AXP) - Get American Express Company Report

climbed 4% in premarket trading after the credit-card company's first-quarter profit drop wasn't as steep as analysts were expecting, thanks to its international presence. AmEx also reaffirmed its above-consensus view for the full year.


(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report

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, also a member of the Dow, disappointed investors with soft guidance for the fiscal fourth quarter. The software giant offered more robust numbers for fiscal 2009, and last quarter's results bested analyst targets, but the stock still sagged 5% early.

Elsewhere in the tech space, however,

Western Digital

(WDC) - Get Western Digital Corporation Report

said its profit more than doubled to $280 million on sales that grew to $2.11 billion. The hard-drive maker beat analyst views on both counts.

Among the day's research calls,


(WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report

was upgraded to buy from neutral at Merrill Lynch, while


(F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report

was downgraded at JPMorgan, Bear Stearns and Merrill a day after the automaker's earnings-inspired rally.

Oppenheimer initiated three ethanol stocks,

Pacific Ethanol

(PEIX) - Get Alto Ingredients, Inc. Report





Aventine Renewable Energy


, with perform ratings, and Citigroup upgraded China-based Internet stocks

(BIDU) - Get Baidu Inc. Report


(SOHU) - Get Limited Report

to buy from hold.

As for data, the sole item on the economic docket is the University of Michigan's final consumer-confidence report, due out at 10 a.m. EDT.

Crude oil was stemming some of the previous session's losses, adding 67 cents to $116.73 a barrel, though gold futures shed another 80 cents at $888.60.

Treasury prices were taking a hit. The 10-year note lost 14/32 in price to yield 3.88%, and the 30-year bond lost 15/32 in price, yielding 4.58%.

Overseas markets were mixed. In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 jumped 2.4% overnight,and the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong declined 0.6%. As for European bourses, the FTSE 100 in London ticked up 0.2%. Germany's Xetra Dax and the Paris Cac climbed about 1% each.