Stock Futures Rise as Markets Cheer Easy Money

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures are looking to extend two consecutive sessions of all-time highs as inflation and New York state manufacturing reports came in weak, adding to expectations that easy monetary policy needs to persist for some time to come.

The global markets have been cheering expectations that Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen, who is tipped to be the next central bank chief, will continue on that path until economic data shows solid signs of improvement. During her confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee Thursday, Yellen emphasized the need for the Fed to continue to support the economy through easing measures.

Futures for the S&P 500 were rising 3.5 points, or 3.73 points above fair value, to 1,791.25, while Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were increasing 30 points, or 30.78 points above fair value, to 15,869. The Empire State manufacturing index unexpectedly fell to negative 2.21 in November from 1.52 in October. A climb to 5 was expected. Meanwhile, October import prices dropped 0.7% and was unchanged excluding fuel costs. September import prices were revised downward to a rise of 0.1% from a 0.2% gain previously. Nasdaq futures were higher by 5 points, or 4.26 points above fair value, to 3,415.5.

The Fed is expected to report that industrial production increased 0.2%, a slowdown from a rise of 0.6% in September.

LinkedIn (LNKD)LNKD shares were being bid higher after Stifel Nicolaus analysts initiated coverage of the stock with a "buy," endorsing it as the go-to platform for professional networking. Shares were up 2.13% to $226.15. Stifel also began coverage of Yelp (YELP)with a "buy" recommendation, praising it for its strength in going beyond just being an online directory to becoming a key connection point to local businesses. Shares were rising 1.78% to $68.45.

Safe havens remained sluggish but were starting to pare losses after the soft data, with the 10-year Treasury falling 4/32, lifting the yield to 2.708%. December gold futures were down 90 cents to $1,285.40 an ounce, also firming a bit.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng closed higher by 1.69% as the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo increased 1.95%. The UK FTSE 100 was advancing 0.38% while the DAX in Germany ticked up 0.12%.

December oil futures were up 2 cents to $93.78 a barrel. The U.S. dollar index was firmer by 0.07% to $81.08.

-- Written by Andrea Tse

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