Futures Edge Higher; 'Witching' Day Awaits

Stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open for Wall Street, with no significant economic news but quadruple-witching on the table.

The expiration of four contracts—stock index futures, stock index options, stock options and single stock futures—happens once each quarter and is frequently both a bullish and volatile day on the markets.

  • Dow 30: Extra-Hour Quotes
  • Pre-Markets/Futures Data
  • Futures, though, pointed to only modest gains, hurt by an after-the-bell earnings report Thursday from Palm in which the company beat analyst estimates but disappointed with its outlook. Shares fell about 3 percent in premarket trading.

    Volume could be light, though, as traders leave early to begin the Jewish holidays.

    Thursday's modest losses notwithstanding, stocks are on an impressive roll for a month that's historically the worst for stocks. The Dow is up more than 3 percent for September so far, the S&P 500 has chalked up a gain of 4.4 percent, and the Nasdaq is up 5.9 percent.

    Both the S&P and Nasdaq are on pace for their seventh consecutive monthly gains.

    One smaller cap stock that could grab some attention is Arena Pharmaceuticals, after an experimental obesity drug met its goals in a second late-stage study. However, the results fell short of a government guideline and shares tumbled nearly 20 percent in premarket trading.

    Dow component Hewlett-Packard has a new board member: Marc Andreesen, best known as the co-founder of Netscape. He's also on the boards of eBay and Facebook.

    - Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk, contributed.