Stock Market Today: Stock Futures Gaining Ahead of Alibaba IPO

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock index futures were higher Friday as the spotlight shifted to Alibaba's  (BABA) IPO on Wall Street and European shares got a boost after Scotland voted against independence from the United Kingdom.

Alibaba shares will begin trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange after the e-commerce giant's initial public offering on Thursday was priced at $68 a share, the top of the expected price range. The IPO values Alibaba at about $168 billion, which is bigger than the current market value of companies such as Amazon (AMZN) , Cisco (CSCO) , and eBay (EBAY) .

Watch the video below for more on what's giving U.S. stocks a boost in premarket trading Friday:


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Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 65 points, or 64.01 points above fair value, while S&P 500 futures increased 5.75 points, or 7.09 points above fair value. Nasdaq futures were 13.3 points higher, or 15.72 points above fair value.

The Dow and S&P closed at record highs on Thursday after the Fed eased concerns that the central bank could initiate its first rate hike before the summer. The markets had also been awaiting the results of a Scottish independence vote.

BTIG's chief strategist Dan Greenhaus raised his year-end price target for the S&P 500 to 2,075-2,100, up from his earlier target of about 1,980, and increased his 2015 EPS estimate to $125. This would imply a price appreciation of 13.6% for 2014, leaving the index trading at 16.8x his 2015 EPS estimate.

"We have been unapologetically bullish for some time now, but as we approach the year's final quarter, some 'catch-up' is necessary," said Greenhaus. "Given the underperformance of so many and the seasonal bias that dominates the winter months, the bias remains to the upside for equities in the coming three months. However, we temper this enthusiasm by noting the Federal Reserve's shift from policy accommodation to policy tightening is likely to lead to equity weakness, no matter how temporary it may be."

European stock indices rose on Friday after a strong day of trading in Asia and as Scotland rejected independence from the rest of the U.K. The Scots voted about 55% to 45% to stay with the United Kingdom but the Scottish parliament will receive significant devolved powers from Westminster as a result of the referendum. The FTSE 100 rallied 0.72% and the pound was down 0.06% vs. the dollar after an initial surge on Scotland's "no" vote. In Frankfurt, the DAX surged 0.83%.

In China, news that Alibaba Group had raised $21.8 billion galvanized indices.

In other top corporate headlines on Friday, Oracle CEO (ORCL) Larry Ellison is stepping aside as CEO of the business software maker after 37 years at the helm. Oracle shares were down 2.53% in premarket trading.

SAP (SAP) , the business software maker from Germany, said it would buy Concur Technologies (CNQR) , a maker of travel and expense management software, for $129 a share, or about $7.36 billion. Concur surged 19.39% and SAP fell 4.18%.

Home Depot (HD) said that a data breach that lasted for months at its stores in the U.S. and Canada affected 56 million debit and credit cards, far more than a pre-Christmas 2013 attack on Target (TGT) customers. Home Depot shares were down 0.34% in premarket trading.

The drug maker GlaxoSmithKline  (GSK)  faces $491.5 million in fines after its subsidiary was found guilty of bribery in China.

Clorox  (CLX) announced late Thursday that its CEO Donald Knauss is stepping down and will be replaced by chief operating officer Benno Dorer starting Nov. 20.

The Conference Board's Index of Leading Indicators for August will be published at 10 a.m. EDT.

-- By Andrea Tse and Kurumi Fukushima in New York

Follow @AndreaTTse

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