Investors were awaiting the release of the initial reading of the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for August. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were falling 4 points, or 3.11 points below fair value, at 13,221. Futures for the S&P 500 were down 1.40 points, or 1.50 points below fair value, at 1412. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 4.5 points, or 0.96 points above fair value, at 2768. U.S. stocks rose Thursday on evidence that the housing industry, which has been in a four-year recession, is coming to life. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's reiteration of European Central Bank President Mario Draghi's vow to do whatever is necessary to save the euro also buoyed stocks, pushing major equity averages to their biggest gains in nearly two weeks. Technology was also a bright spot for the broad market, driven by Cisco ( CSCO) after the networking giant's solid quarterly results and dividend boost. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters on average expect that the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index, out at 9:55 a.m. EDT, will tick higher in August to 72.4 from 72.3 in July thanks to an offsetting of rebounding gasoline prices with the stock market rally and stronger economic data points -- including the recent downtrend in initial jobless claims. The Conference Board's July index of leading indicators, out at 10 a.m., is predicted to show an improvement as well, rising by 0.2% after falling by 0.3% in June. September crude oil futures were falling 47 cents at $95.13 a barrel and December gold futures were up 20 cents at $1,619.40 an ounce. The benchmark 10-year Treasury was flat, with the yield at 1.837%. The greenback was trading sideways, according to the dollar index. The FTSE in London was up 0.2% and the DAX in Germany was up 0.22%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng index closed up 0.77% and the Nikkei in Japan settled up 0.77%. On corporate developments, branded food products company J.M. Smucker ( SJM) reported first-quarter results that beat Wall Street expectations as price reductions helped lure customers back in. Athletic apparels company Foot Locker ( FL) posted second-quarter net income that increased by 59% and results that exceeded Wall Street expectations, largely thanks to stronger sales, better cost controls and a small tax-related benefit. Teen retailer Gap ( GPS) hiked its full-year earnings outlook in afterhours trading Thursday. Clothing retailer Aeropostale ( ARO) gave a softer than expected third-quarter earnings guidance for the current quarter after the bell.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures barely budged Friday after posting healthy gains in the previous session.
2012 Stock Predictions and Outlook
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