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Futures Flat Ahead of Consumer Confidence

CNBC.com
Friday, 17 Aug 2012 | 9:05 AM ET

U.S stock index futureshovered around the flatline Friday, after major indexes posted their biggest gains in two weeks, propelled by gains in techs and following German Chancellor Angela Merkel's support for the European Central Bank’s plans to combat the euro zone crisis.

European shares were trading near 13-month highs, on pace to record its best weekly winning streak in seven years amid hopes that euro zone policymakers will work closely to tackle the debt crisis.

On the economic front, the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment survey for August is due out at 9.55 a.m. Analysts polled by Briefing.com expected the index to read 72.2, down from 72.3 in the previous month.

And the Conference Board releases its leading economic indicators index for July at 10 a.m. on Friday. Economists polled by Briefing.com forecast a 0.2 percent rise, compared with a 0.3 percent fall in June.

Apple edged higher after Jefferies boosted its price target on Apple to $900 from $800 a share and reiterated its "buy" rating, citing bullish views on the tech giant's existing products, an expected launch of iTV in the next year and speculation that the iPad Mini has gone into production. Apple closed at a new all-time high in the previous session at $636.34, topping its old closing high in early April.

Hopes for More QE Dim
"We've stopped looking for QE3 but we do think that Bernanke will spell out what will happen," says William Irving, UBS U.S. economics managing director. John Lonski, Moody's Capital Markets, weighs in.

Groupon fell below $5 a share after Evercore Partners downgraded the daily-deal website's stock to "underweight" from "equal weight," saying Street estimates for the company remain too high.

Facebook continued to trade lower a day after the social-media giant's 6-percent tumble in the previous session following the end of its first lockup period.

Among earnings, Ann soared after the parent company of Ann Taylor posted better-than-expected earnings.

Gap edged higher after the apparel retailer topped earnings estimates and boosted its full-year outlook. At least seven brokerages raised their price targets on the firm.

Marvell Technology tumbled after the chipmaker handed in a disappointing current-quarter guidance. In addition, at least 10 brokerages slashed their price targets on the firm.

J.M. Smucker gained after the maker of Jif peanut butter reported better-than-expected quarterly results thanks to price cuts. In addition, the company maintained its full-year forecast.

—By CNBC’s JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC)

Coming Up This Week:

FRIDAY: Consumer sentiment, leading indicators

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