Central banker speak and a G-20 meeting are the highlights Friday, as traders check positions ahead of the long President's Day weekend.
Turmoil in the Middle East continues to dominate headlines but markets have had a subdued reaction. However, Friday is a day that traders expect to see some positioning against geopolitical events as investors leave for the three day weekend.
Stocks Thursday hit fresh multi-year highs, as Mid-Atlantic manufacturing data came in at a 7-year high but consumer prices increased 0.4 percent in January, a bit more than expected. The Dow rose 29 to 12,318, to its highest level since June 5, 2008, and the S&P 500 rose to 1340, up 4.
Treasurys saw some flight-to-safety buying, as unrest in Bahrain continued and contradictory reports circulated about Iranian war ships passing through the Suez canal. The 10-year yield, as a result, slipped to 3.58 percent, well off last week's highs above 3.7 percent. Worries about rising inflation fired up demand for the $9 billion in new 30 year Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, auctioned Thursday.
Nymex crude closed higher, rising $1.37 to $86.36 per barrel, as Brent crude fell below $103 per barrel. The dollar was lower Thursday with the euro finishing at 1.3606.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke Friday joins a panel of bankers, including European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet, People's Bank of China's Zhou Xiaochuan and the Bank of England's Mervyn King, at 8 a.m. New York time. The topic of the Paris event is global imbalances and financial stability.
"I don't think it's really the venue for Bernanke to try to speak to markets or address something that will create volatility. I don't think he'll have anything else to add. Did CPI change his opinion about inflation? I doubt it," said David Gilmore of Foreign Exchange Analytics.
G-20 finance ministers meet in Paris Friday and Saturday. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner speaks at the meeting Saturday morning.
In Washington, the Joint Advisory committee on emerging regulatory issues, formed to study the May 6 "flash crash," meets on Friday.
Earnings are expected from Calpine , Campbell Soup , Progress Energy , and Brookfield Asset Management .
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