U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open Friday as investors kept up a buoyant mood following the announcement of quantitative easing measures by Federal Reserve, which are expected to boost economic growth.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.24 percent, futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 index were up 0.20 percent and futures on the Nasdaq 100 index were up 0.26 percent.
Investors will likely focus on the Dept. of Labor's Consumer Price Index (CPI) for August, to be published Friday. The CPI, which measures the change in the price of goods and services from consumers' perspective, is expected to rise 0.5 percent in August after a flat reading in July.
Investors are also likely to focus on the August retail sales report due from the Commerce Dept. Economists predict the report, which measures change in the total value of inflation-adjusted sales at the retail level, will show a 0.7 percent increase against a 0.8 percent rise in July. Meanwhile, core retail sales excluding autos are expected to grow 0.6 percent, compared to the 0.8 percent rise in July.
On Thursday, U.S. markets rose as investor sentiment turned positive following the announcement of another round of quantitative easing by the Fed. Market confidence was lifted as the Fed announced Thursday an open-ended round of quantitative easing, known informally as QE3, that will focus on mortgage-backed securities purchases to revive the economy. It also extended its conditional commitment to leave its policy rate at near-zero until mid-2015. This has given markets the signal that the Fed doesn’t intend to withdraw its accommodative policy stance any time soon.
Investor sentiment turned positive after the Fed confirmed the purchase of $40 billion in agency mortgage-backed securities per month with no end date or dollar limit placed on the program. Market participants were pleased to note that it meant that the Fed will keep purchasing mortgage-backed securities until the labor market outlook improves sufficiently.
Meanwhile, the Labor Dept. reported Thursday that initial jobless claims rose to 370,000 in the week ending Sept. 8, up from 365,000 in the previous week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.6 percent, the S&P 500 Index was up 1.6 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 1.3 percent.
European markets gained Friday as investors were encouraged by the Fed move to put in place another large scale asset purchase program to revive economic growth. London’s FTSE 100 was up 75.72 points, Germany's DAX 30 Index rose 100.06 points and France's CAC 40 advanced 63.35 points.
Asian markets rose Friday as investors cheered the announcement of QE3 by the Fed.
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