Premarket futures were forecasting a higher open for stocks on Wall Street Friday, ahead of a hotly anticipated vote on the Treasury Department's rescue package for financial firms. On Thursday, stocks finished with sharp losses as traders digested some bearish economic data and waited for signs that a $700 billion bailout package for the financial sector would pass the House of Representatives. The bill, slated to go to vote Friday, is expected to pass the House by a narrow margin. As investors awaited legislative aid, there were still plenty of signs of trouble for financial firms. Swiss bank UBS ( UBS) said it would cut 2,000 jobs as part of its reorganization efforts. Meanwhile, several media reports suggested that Japanese firm Mitsubishi UFJ may merge its investment banking unit with Morgan Stanley ( MS) operations in Japan. The Wall Street Journal reported that Washington Mutual CEO Alan Fishman won't stay on at JPMorgan Chase ( JPM), which acquired WaMu after it failed on Sept. 25. In other board shakeups, mortgage packager Fannie Mae ( FNM) announced that former CEO Daniel Mudd will not be keeping his seat on Fannie's board. Elsewhere, private equity firm Blackstone ( BX) bought a $600 million stake in China National BlueStar, according to a report by Bloomberg. In the technology arena, Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) may, according to a report in the Journal, be gearing up to release a smartphone. As for economic data, the Department of Labor's unemployment figures for September is scheduled for release, as are September services numbers from the Institute for Supply Management. In commodities, crude oil was rising 34 cents to $94.31. Gold was slipping $1.70 to $842.60.
Longer-dated U.S. Treasury securities were ticking higher in price. The 10-year was up 10/32 to yield 3.59%, and the 30-year was gaining 26/32, yielding 4.11%. The dollar was flat vs. the yen and losing ground against the euro and pound. Across the seas, European exchanges, such as London's FTSE and Frankfurt's DAX, were largely gaining ground. Asian indices like the Nikkei in Japan and Hong Kong's Hang Seng, however, closed with losses.