Future Gain Ahead of Economic News

Futures gained Friday, following the stock market's strongest rally since September in the previous session on the heels of stronger-than-expected economic news and over optimism that Greece's debt crisis would see a resolution.

Investors are looking ahead to second-quarter earnings, which get underway in the second week of July. They will pay close attention to corporate forecasts, given the weakness in the economy.

Other data scheduled for release later in the day include the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey for June at 9:55 am ET and construction spending at 10 am ET. Consumer sentiment was seen little changed at 71.9, while construction spending is expected to be flat in May.

In addition, ISM Index of national factory activity for June is also due at 10 am ET. Analysts on average told Reuters they were expecting the index to slip to 51.8 from 53.5 in May.

In company news, Apple and Research In Motion and a consortium of four other partner companies won the bidding process for bankrupt Nortel Networks' remaining patent portfolio for $4.5 billion, in a hotly contested auction that saw Google and Intel lose out.

Meanwhile, RIM agreed to study a split of its co-chair and co-chief executive roles.

Eastman Kodak continued to plunge for a second day after a U.S. trade panel upheld portions of a ruling unfavorable to the film manufacturer in a patent dispute over digital camera technology in cellphones.

Dendreon gained after U.S. regulators said the Medicare and Medicaid federal health insurance programs will fully cover Provenge, the drugmaker's expensive treatment for advanced prostate cancer.

Oshkosh jumped after billionaire investor Carl Icahn said he wants to meet with the specialty truck maker's management to discuss enhancing shareholder value.

On the earnings front, Darden Restaurants slipped even after the parent company of Olive Garden reported earnings that met expectations.

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is considering stepping down later this year, but will not make a decision until contentious negotiations over the debt ceiling are completed, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with his thinking.

European shares were flatafter a four-day rally, as investors turned their focus to the strength of global economic recovery.

On Tap This Week:

FRIDAY: Consumer sentiment, ISM mfg index, construction spending, HP launches TouchPad, auto sales

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