Futures Point Up as Rally Continues; Dell Gains
Stocks closed lower in the previous session, after the Dow and S&P 500 briefly touched fresh all-time highs.
Dell edged higher following news that Billionaire investor Carl Icahn is teaming up with Southeastern Asset Management to bid for the tech company, proposing an alternative to the $24.4 billion buyout proposed by founder Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake partners.
Among earnings, ArcelorMittal rallied after the steelmaker posted a narrower-than-expected decline in earnings and maintained its profit forecast for the year, thanks to deep cost-cutting in Europe.
Priceline.com poked higher after the travel website topped quarterly expectations, but handed in a weaker-than-expected forecast for the second quarter, citing the effects of global expansion costs. Still, at least two brokerages raised their price targets on the firm.
So far, close to 90 percent of S&P 500 companies have posted quarterly results, with 67 percent topping earnings expectations and 24 percent missing forecasts, according to Reuters. If all remaining companies post numbers in line with estimates, earnings will be up 5.3 percent on last year.
But sales have come in 1 percent below estimates on average, with only 46 percent of companies beating their revenue projections.
In macroeconomic news, the Treasury will post its April deficit numbers at 2 p.m. on Friday. The deficit stood at $107 billion in March.
Also, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak at 9:30 a.m. ET on "monitoring finance", at Chicago's annual conference on bank structure and competition.
In Asia, both Japanese and Australian equities extending their bull run, after the yen weakened through the key 100-mark against the U.S. dollar for the first time in four years. Analysts said the rally was partly fueled by Thursday's strong weekly U.S. jobless claims data, and renewed concerns about the Federal Reserve scaling back its bond-buying program.
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Meanwhile, G7 finance ministers and central bank governors from the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan are meeting in the U.K. on Friday. They are expected to discuss whether central banks can do more to encourage the fragile global recovery at the two-day event.
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"Interestingly, U.K. Chancellor Osborne released a statement saying the meeting was 'an opportunity to consider what more monetary activism can do to support the recovery, while ensuring medium-term inflation expectations remain anchored'," said Derek Halpenny, the European head of global markets research at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, in a research note.
"So it would appear from that, that the onus is likely to remain on central banks to support the global economy, meaning more easing ahead, which will act to benefit the dollar further. Bernanke is not attending!"