Market Hustle: Futures Gain as Fed Speak Begins

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were leaning toward a higher open on Friday, stabilizing after stocks fell sharply yesterday to open trading for the new year.

  • S&P 500 futures were up 3 points, or 3.62 points above fair value, to 1,829.5 while Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were tacking on 28 points, or 44.65 points above fair value, to 16,416. Nasdaq futures were rising 1.5 points, or 2.83 points above fair value, to 3,560.8.

  • Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is scheduled to deliver a speech in Philadelphia at 2:30 p.m. EST. Bernanke, the outgoing chairman, is expected to speak about the changeover at the Fed at a meeting of the American Economic Association. "The outgoing Fed Chair will presumably not want to surprise in the last few weeks of his tenure," Capital Economics' Toronto-based senior U.S. economist Paul Dales said in a note. Nevertheless, Bernanke is speaking amid general anticipation of more tapering by the central bank in the not-too-distant future.

  • Also expected to speak at the Philadelphia meeting are Fed Governor Jeremy Stein at 10:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. and Philadelphia Fed president Charles Plosser at 10:15 a.m. and again at 12:45 p.m. Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker speaks in Baltimore at 1:30 p.m.

  • Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen is expected to to assume the Fed's top post on Feb. 1 after Bernanke finishes his second term on Jan. 31. The Senate is scheduled to vote on Yellen's appointment as Fed chair on Monday at about 5:30 p.m New York time.

  • December auto sales numbers will be published at 2 p.m. EST.

  • U.S. markets sank on the first trading day of 2014 amid signs of slowing manufacturing in China and as investors accepted the likelihood that the next 12 months won't match 2013.

  • FireEye (FEYE) shares were surging 24.24% to $51.10 in premarket trading on Thursday after FireEye announced it will acquire computer forensics company Mandiant for $1.05 billion in cash and stock, reported preliminary fourth-quarter results, and raised 2014 revenue guidance based on the acquisition.

  • General Electric (GE) was trading sideways at $27.50 after being downgraded at Oppenheimer to perform from outperform.

  • -- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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