NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures edged higher Friday amid rising sentiment that the Federal Reserve will avoid tapering its $85 billion a month bond-buying stimulus program at least through the end of this year amid due to concerns about the economic impact of the prolonged U.S. fiscal deadlock and the pending the release of a spate of delayed economic data.
China's third-quarter gross domestic product accelerated to 7.8%, in line with market expectations, though optimism about the country's growth outlook was tempered as monthly activity data appeared to have softened across the board.
The market was also being buoyed by strength in shares of heavyweights such as Google GOOG and General Electric GE.
Futures for the S&P 500 were rising 5.5 points, or 5.7 points above fair value, to 1,733.25 after the index managed to finish at a new all-time high of 1,733.15 during the prior session. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were adding on 35 points, or 25.35 points above fair value, to 15,331. Futures for the Nasdaq were gaining 19.8 points, or 27.47 points above fair value, to 3,320.8.
Google shares were jumping more than 9% to $971.44 Thursday after the online search giant posted earnings that beat expectations. Google reported earnings of $10.74 a share on revenue of $11.93 billion, excluding traffic acquisition costs. With TAC, revenue was $14.9 billion. Analysts expected Google to earn $10.34 a share on revenue, including TAC, of $14.79 billion. "Google had another strong quarter with $14.9 billion in revenue and great product progress," said Larry Page, CEO of Google. "We are closing in on our goal of a beautiful, simple, and intuitive experience regardless of your device."
General Electric was popping 2.67% to $25.34 after the Fairfield, Conn., conglomerate on Friday reported an 11% industrial profit growth year-over-year, while industrial revenues were up 3%. Third-quarter operating earnings came in at $3.699 billion, or 36 cents a share, compared to $3.685 billion, or 36 cents a share, in the second quarter, and $3.798 billion, or 36 cents a share, in the third quarter of 2012. The third-quarter operating profit beat the consensus estimate of 35 cents, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
Morgan Stanley (MS) was tacking on 3.63% to $29.98 as the investment bank's focus on wealth management appeared to be paying off with the division driving industry-leading top-line growth. On Friday, Morgan Stanley reported $7.9 billion in third-quarter revenue and 50 cents in adjusted earnings per share, beating top and bottom line consensus expectations. Unlike competitors such as Goldman Sachs (GS), JPMorgan (JPM), Citigroup (C) and Bank of America (BAC), Morgan Stanley has been able to show growth as a result of the firm's full consolidation of brokerage and wealth management businesses it acquired from Citigroup.
Amazon (AMZN) shares were up 2.55% to $318.71 after UBS upgraded the shares to "buy" from "neutral" and raised the price target to $385 from $305 citing a potential acceleration in fourth quarter revenue and paid unit growth as the bank's analysts expressed enthusiasm about the globalization of the Kindle ecosystem and the company's advertising business, and more importantly, the strong long term trends supporting the company's multi-channel commerce model.
A number of Fed speakers were expected to make public appearances Friday. A Federal Reserve Board and Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond-sponsored conference in Washington, discussing orderly resolution strategies and planning for large financial firms, will feature speakers including Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo and Federal Bank of New York President William Dudley. Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans is expected to give a speech on economy and monetary policy in Chicago starting at 2 p.m. EDT. Federal Reserve Governor Jeremy Stein is expected to speak about managing financial imbalances, in Boston, beginning at 4:30 p.m.
The Conference Board has said on its Web site that its leading U.S. Economic Index report, scheduled for release on Friday, will be delayed due to missing data as a result of the government shutdown.
The nonfarm payrolls report for September, which was originally scheduled for Oct. 4, will now be released on Oct. 22, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The FTSE in London was up 0.19% and the DAX in Germany was up 0.11%. The Nikkei 225 in Japan closed down 0.17% and the Hong Kong Hang Seng finished ahead by 1.06%.
December crude oil contracts were up 27 cents to $101.14 a barrel and December gold futures were down $2.20 to $1,320.80 an ounce.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury was surging 12/32, diluting the yield to 2.552%. The dollar was off 0.14% to $79.54 according to the U.S. dollar index.
-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York
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