Global stocks were set to rise on Friday morning, with the first quarter ticking down and the euro zone agreeing to boost its bailout fund by about 300-billion euros. Meanwhile, Research In Motion Ltd. was down only slightly in premarket trading, after reporting shocking quarterly results on Thursday evening.
U.S. index futures were up with about 90 minutes before markets open, suggesting that stocks will rise at the start of trading. Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average were up 56 points or 0.4 per cent. Futures for the broader S&P 500 were up 7 points or 0.5 per cent. Both indexes were whipsawed in trading on Thursday, sustaining deep selloffs soon after the start of trading, only for the Dow to rebound into positive territory by the end of the day.
Stocks were mostly up overseas as well. In Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was up 0.7 per cent and Germany's DAX index was up 1.1 per cent in afternoon trading. There, euro zone finance ministers agreed to boost the size of the region's bailout fund to 800-billion euros -- which is a little shy of some recommendations calling for a firewall of 1-trillion euros, but nonetheless a move seen as being in the right direction. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.3 per cent in overnight trading.
RIM is going to be a much-watched stock after the BlackBerry maker reported its fourth-quarter results after markets closed on Thursday. So far, investors seem willing to balance dismal results -- it reported its first quarterly loss since 2005 and missed both earnings and sales forecasts -- against comments from the company's new chief executive that all options were on the table, which suggests that an outright sale of RIM is one such option. The shares were down 2 per cent in premarket activity.
Commodities moved higher: Crude oil rose to $103.32 (U.S.) a barrel, up 0.5 per cent. Gold rose to $1,664 an ounce, up 0.7 per cent.
In terms of U.S. economic reports, a report on personal income and spending will be released at 8:30 a.m. (ET). Soon after markets open, the University of Michigan will release its consumer sentiment index for March. As well, economists will be looking for the Chicago purchasing managers' index to get a gauge on the area's manufacturing activity.
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