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Futures Slightly Higher Amid G20 Talks

Stock index futures traded slightly higher ahead of the open Friday as investors digested the latest hike in bank reserve requirements by China’s central bank and as the G20 meeting of finance ministers got underway in Paris.

The People's Bank of China raised lenders' required reserves by 50 basis points, on Friday, the second such increase this year as it tries to curb inflation.

The move came as PBOC governor Zhou Xiaochuan joined G20 ministers and central bankers to discuss a reform of the currency system—with less reliance on the US dollar—and commodity prices. Host France would like to tackle speculation to limit volatility on the markets.

The G20 has set itself the ambitious goal of agreeing on how to measure imbalances in the global economy, but a final agreement is not expected when the two-day meeting concludes on Saturday.

In remarks ahead of the summit on Friday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke acknowledged the Fed's bond buying program to stimulate the U.S. economy may be contributing to accelerated growth in emerging markets, but he said rigid exchange rate policies share the blame.

Bernanke will join a panel of central bankers at the gathering on Friday, including European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet, the Bank of England's Mervyn King and the PBOC's Zhou Xiaochuan.

Investors will continue to closely monitor political unrest in the Middle Easton Friday as crowds in Libya, Yemen, Iran and Bahrain took to the streets.

London Brent crude oil prices fell slightly, below $103 per barrel on Friday, while U.S. light sweet crude rose to nearly $87 a barrel as the tension fueled supply fears. (Read more: Crude Prices: Is the Brent-WTI Spread Unwinding?)

James Barty, head of Macro Strategy at VTB Capital told CNBC on Friday it would take a major issue in Bahrain or Saudi Arabia for the oil price to really shoot up and worry global markets.

“If the price gets to ($)120-130, that’s the kind of price that would start to worry markets. As long as the oil price remains around ($)100 it’s not an issue,” he said.

Stocks hit new multi-year highs on Thursday. The Dow rose to its highest level since June 5, 2008.

In earnings news, Campbell Soup sank after the maker of soups and snacks cut its full-year forecast, on weak soup sales.

Time Warnershares will also be in the spotlight after the group ousted Jack Griffin, the head of its magazine publishing unit, after less than six months on the job.

In M&A news, Citadel Broadcasting entered into exclusive negotiations with Cumulus Mediato be acquired by Cumulus for $37 a share in cash and stock, according to people close to the situation, CNBC reported on Thursday.

On Tap Next Week:

MONDAY: President's Day—all markets closed.
TUESDAY:Case-Shiller Home Price Index, consumer confidence, Richmond Fed Survey; Minneapolis Fed President Kocherlakota speaks, 2-year Treasury note auction; Chicago mayoral election; before-the-bell earnings from Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Macy's, NRG Energy, Office Depot, Barnes & Noble.
WEDNESDAY: Mortgage applications, existing home sales, Philadelphia Fed President Plosser speaks, Kansas City Fed President Hoenig speaks, 5-year Treasury note auction; earnings before-the-bell from Lowe's and TJX; earnings after-the-bell from Limited Brands, Priceline.com, and Transocean.
THURSDAY: Durable goods orders, jobless claims, USDA agricultural trade outlook, new home sales, natural gas inventories, oil inventories, 7-year Treasury note auction, money supply; earnings before-the-bell from General Motors, Kohl's, Newmont Mining, Safeway, Sears and Target; earnings after-the-bell from AIG, First Solar, Gap and Salesforce.
FRIDAY: GDP (second reading), consumer sentiment; earnings before-the-bell from JCPenney.