Futures Remain Higher After GDP Revision

U.S. stock index futures rose ahead of the open, although gains were pared slightly after a lower-than-expected revision to the fourth-quarter Gross Domestic Product.

The economy grew at a 2.8 percent pacein the fourth quarter, down from an initial estimate of an annualized rate of 3.2 percent, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Economists had expected the revision to rise to 3.3 percent.

Futures got a boost as oil prices fell on assurances from Saudi Arabia that it can pump more oil to cover for a fall in Libyan exports caused by the turmoil in the country. U.S. light sweet crude for April delivery fell below $97 a barrel, while Brent London crude was flat at about $111 a barrel.

An unconfirmed rumor about the possible shooting of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi sent oil prices plunging late on Thursday.

In company news, Boeing gained nearly 5 percent in pre-market trading after the Pentagon announced Thursday after the bell that the US aircraft maker won a contract to build new refuelling planes for the US Air Force.

AIGalso rose before the bellafter the company reported a profit of more than $11 billion in the fourth quarter, on asset sales.

Freddie Mac, the government controlled mortgage company, posted a loss of $1.7 billion in the fourth quarterof last year and asked for $500 million in government aid, more than $100 million it sought in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, a regulatory filing late Tuesday showed that Freddie Mac Executive Vice President Don Bisenius may face charges from the Securities and Exchange Committee for allegedly breaking securities laws before the housing collapse.

European stocks rebounded Friday morning but trading on the London Stock Exchange was stopped temporarily because of a technical glitch.Asian stocks inched higher as oil prices retreated.

On Tap This Week:

FRIDAY: Consumer sentiment; earnings before-the-bell from JCPenney.

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