Futures Gain Amid Talk of ECB Lending to IMF

Futures gained Friday amid chatter that the ECB may lend money to the IMF to provide the fund with the resources to bail out bigger euro zone sovereigns.

ECB is considering a move to lend money to the IMF that would be used to finance bailouts to heavily debt-ridden euro zone countries, according to a report. Meanwhile, other reports say Germany and the ECB remain opposed to the plan, but talks could begin with no viable alternatives.

Italy's new government announced far-reaching reforms in response to the European debt crisis that pushed borrowing costs for France and Spain sharply higher, and brought tens of thousands of Greeks onto the streets of Athens. There were also protests in Spain, Italy and the U.S.

European shares were lower, extending a decline from the previous session, on mounting worries that borrowing costs in several euro zone countries are unsustainably high.

German chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron are scheduled to meet in Berlin to discuss the ongoing crisis in Europe. Merkel has called for a new EU treaty to help resolve the crisis, a move Cameron is opposed to.

In corporate news, Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext confirmed plans to sell equity-option businesses across Europe and to give rivals access to a major derivatives clearing house, in an effort to win support for their $9 billion merger from antitrust regulators.

Elsewhere, the trustee liquidating MF Global Holdings broker-dealer unit won court permission to distribute $520 million of cash, providing relief to customers whose accounts have been frozen since it went bankrupt.

The U.S. economy is gaining steam as factories produce more cars and slowing inflation relieves pressure on spending power, putting the country on a stronger footing to resist an economic storm gathering over Europe.

In economic news the Conference Board releases its report on October leading economic indicators at 10:00 am ET. Economists polled by Reuters forecast a 0.6 percent increase compared with a 0.2 percent rise in September.

Among earnings, Heinz quarterly profit topped expectations, thanks to price increases, but shares of the Ketchup maker slipped after the firm did not raise its full-year forecast.

Marvell Technology gained even after the chipmaker posted a decline in revenue and warned that the flooding in Thailand may hurt demand for hard-drive controllers.

Meanwhile, Salesforce slumped after the web-based software maker reported a quarterly loss as its market and sales costs increased sharply in addition to a tepid outlook.

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Coming Up Next Week:

MONDAY: Chicago Fed nat'l activity index, existing home sales, 2-yr note auction, Fed's Lockhart speaks, Kindle Touch ships; Earnings from Hewlett-Packard
TUESDAY: GDP, corporate profits, 5-yr note auction
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage applications, durable goods orders, personal income & outlays, jobless claims, consumer sentiment, oil inventories, 7-yr note auction, FOMC minutes, Super Cmte. must vote on detailed recommendations; Earnings from Deere
THURSDAY: Thanksgiving Day: All US markets closed
FRIDAY: Black Friday, NYSE early close, Fed balance sheet, money supply, USDA food prices outlook

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