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Big news from two software titans left the broader market little changed early Friday as traders stepped back and surveyed positions after a powerful two-day rally.

Index futures recently showed the

S&P 500

trading half a point below fair value, while the Nasdaq 100 was set for a 1-point decline. The 10-year Treasury bond was up 3/32 in price to yield 5.08%, while the dollar drifted against the yen and euro.

Stocks rallied Thursday after

Federal Reserve

Chairman Ben Bernanke played down the degree to which energy prices have seeped into the broader economy. Bernanke also said measures of inflation expectations have "fallen back somewhat in the past month," helping to spark a 198-point surge in the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

, a 26-point rise in the S&P 500 and a 58-point rally in the

Nasdaq Composite


Thursday's strength thrust the Dow and S&P 500 back into positive territory for the year. For the Nasdaq, which through Tuesday had fallen in eight consecutive sessions, two days of gains have lifted the tech-heavy index by a combined 3.4%.

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After the bell Thursday,


(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report

disclosed that Bill Gates will leave day-to-day involvement with the company in 2008 and transfer his current role as chief software architect to Ray Ozzie. Aside from laying out Gates' gradual transition into full-time philanthropy, the announcement was significant in that it left Steve Ballmer's role as CEO intact, something many investors oppose.

Also Thursday,


(ORCL) - Get Oracle Corporation Report

said its May quarter is shaping up well. The software company expects to report adjusted earnings of 29 cents a share for the period, above its previous forecast of 26 cents to 28 cents, and said revenue grew by 25% to $4.85 billion, far surpassing its growth target of 13% to 17%.

Overseas markets were higher Friday following New York's big session. London's FTSE 100 was recently gaining 0.7% to 5661, while Germany's Xetra DAX added 0.6% to 5456. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei surged 2.8% overnight to 14,879, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 2.6% to 15,843.

To view Ana Dane's video take on today's premarket action, click here


Crude rose as efforts to reach a diplomatic solution to the impasse around Iran's nuclear research program made halting progress. The U.S. delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency said late Thursday that Iran would face U.N. sanctions if it didn't stop enriching uranium. Recently, July crude rose 21 cents to $69.71 a barrel.

Other commodities continued to bounce after having one of their worst days ever on Tuesday. In morning trading, gold was up $16.40 to $586.70 an ounce, silver gained 31 cents to $10.28 an ounce, and copper added 1.3 cents to $3.14 a pound.