U.S. stocks: Futures hint at strong weekly jump
London (Mar 20) U.S. stocks headed for solid weekly gains on Friday, with futures indicating a rebound from the previous session’s oil-driven losses.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMM5, +0.65% climbed 85 points, or 0.5%, to 17,970, while those for the S&P 500 index ESM5, +0.49% added 6.40 points, or 0.3%, to 2,088.00. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 index NQM5, +0.51% gained 14.50 points, or 0.3%, to 4,436.50.
For the week, all benchmarks were poised for advances, ranging from rises of 1.8% to 3.1%, according to the futures. The increases come after a choppy week when the main benchmarks were thrown between gains and losses. Those moves came after the Federal Reserve’s statement that it will no longer be “patient” before it raises interest rates, but that it’s also in no hurry to tighten policy.
Economists at Credit Suisse said in a note on Friday that the statement was dovish, but that they still expect a rate hike in June. They also lifted their target for the S&P 500 SPX, -0.49% by 20 points to 2,170 by the end of 2015, saying corporate credit is set to improve along with global earnings.
On Thursday, a slide in oil prices hit energy stocks and helped move the markets lower. Crude prices fell slightly on Friday.
Fed speakers: With little in the way of economic data on Friday, the latest comments from Fed speakers will be watched. Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart will give a speech on monetary policy to the Georgia Law Review Symposium in Athens, Ga., at 10:15 a.m. Eastern Time. Lockhart is a voting member of the Fed’s rate-setting board this year.
Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, also a voting member, will discuss a paper on “risk management for monetary policy at the zero bound” at 11:30 a.m. Eastern.
Stocks to watch: Nike Inc. NKE, +4.82% jumped 4.3% ahead of the bell after reporting fiscal third-quarter earnings late Thursday that beat analyst forecasts.
Prothena Corp. PRTA, +39.38% soared 48% premarket after the biotech firm said late Thursday its Parkinson’s disease treatment showed positive results in an early-stage study.
Shares of SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. SEAS, +0.99% could also be active after the theme-park operator late Thursday named Joel Manby as its president and chief executive, effective April 7.
Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +0.07% was further in the spotlight after receiving official approval to test-fly its drones.
Shares of Tiffany & Co. TIF, -3.44% slipped 1.8% ahead of the bell after the jeweler reported a small drop in sales.
Darden Restaurants Inc. DRI, +4.67% picked up 5.1% in premarket action after the owner of Olive Garden, among other restaurant chains, reported earnings that beat estimates.
KB Home KBH, +1.21% is expected to post first-quarter earnings of 2 cents a share.
Other markets: European stock markets were mostly higher, with the U.K.’s FTSE 100 index UKX, +0.20% extending its push into record territory. Shares on the Athex Composite GD, +2.68% gained 2.6% after Greece agreed to send a list of overhauled reforms to European officials within days, according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index NIK, +0.43% ended at an almost 15-year high, aided by a weaker yen.
Meanwhile the ICE dollar index DXY, -0.27% fell 0.3%, while metals rose across the board.