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Futures Remain Higher After CPI

Futures remain slightly higherFriday after a report that increases in consumer prices were slightly higher than expected.

The CPI for August rose 0.3 percent, the same increase as July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The index was expected to show a rise of 0.2 percent, according to Briefing.com research. The Core CPI, which excludes food and energy costs, rose 0.1, in line with expectations.

A rally in technology shares already looked set to push the major indexes higher at the open, although the quadruple expiration of futures and options could bring volatility.

European shares were higher with mining companies seeing most of the gains. Asian stocks ended up with the Nikkei 225 getting a further boost from yen weakness in the wake of government intervention to weaken the currency Wednesday.

Shares of Oracle and Research in Motionwere higher in pre-market trading after jumping in extended trading Thursday following better-than-expected earnings results after the bell. Texas Instruments also made gains after the market close due to news of a dividend boost and share buy-back program. Cisco, Intel and Microsoft rose in pre-market trading.

Market direction could become derailed due to the quadruple witching—when stock index futures, stock index options, stock options and single stock futures expire at the same time—which traders often cite as a source of volatility.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index is released at 9:55 am with economists surveyed by Briefing.com expecting a slight improvement to a reading of 70 for September, from 68.9 in August.

Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Daniel Tarullo will speak on regulating shadow banking in Washington at 11:30 am.

And President Barack Obama is expected to name Elizabeth Warren as a special adviser overseeing the creation of a consumer protection agency.

In corporate news, Johnson & Johnson is in talks to buy the shares it doesn't yet own of Dutch biotech firm Crucell. The U.S. health care company is expected to pay $2.3 billion in a bid to strengthen its vaccine business. Shares edged higher premarket.

And BP reached a milestone in the process of capping its Gulf of Mexico ruptured oil well for good, as a relief well made contact with it. BP shares in London were higher. In New York, BP shares closed up.

While stocks have continued to move higher this month, investors are still pouring money into safe-haven assets like gold. The precious metal hit a second record high of the week on Thursday, settling at $1,273.80 an ounce, although prices are easing in early morning trading.

On the Calendar:

FRIDAY: Consumer sentiment, quadruple witching

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