Dow Futures Point Higher Following Rally

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Dow futures signaled the blue-chip index may continue climbing after rallying to the highest level since May 2008 last session as traders await a fresh read on U.S. consumer prices.

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Today's Markets

As of 8:36 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 36 points to 12906, S&P 500 futures gained 2.3 points to 1357 and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 0.25 point to 2593.

Market participants are growing increasingly confident that Greece may be able to avoid a bailout on its debt that analysts feared could have dealt a strong blow to the European financial system.

The European Central Bank is poised to swap some its holdings of Greek bonds for new ones as early as this weekend, according to multiple media reports. Potentially, the ECB move could make way for a similar exchange by private creditors early next week. More importantly, perhaps, eurozone finance chiefs are expected to sign off on a $171 billion bailout package as early as Monday, according to reports. Still, the situation remains fluid and analysts note seemingly secure deals have repeatedly fallen apart at the last minute in the past.

European shares, which were broadly lower on Thursday, posted solid gains on the day. The Euro Stoxx 50, which tracks eurozone blue chips, recently rallied 1.1%, while the euro climbed 0.2% to $1.3157.

U.S. markets are closed for a holiday on Monday, so traders said Friday may be a light trading day.

Prices at the consumer level rose 0.2% in January from December, slightly less than the 0.3% increase economists forecast. Excluding the more volatile food and energy components, so-called prices were up 0.2%, which was in-line with expectations. The headline reading has jumped 2.9% from last year, while core prices are up 2.3%.

Economists have been keeping a close eye on the inflation situation since the Federal Reserve has taken unprecedented measures to boost the economy and stave off a collapse of the financial since the crisis in 2008. However, such an aggressive monetary policy has the potential to stir inflation.

Commodities markets were little changed. The benchmark crude oil contract traded in New York rose 43 cents, or 0.43%, to $103.06 a barrel. Wholesale RBOB gasoline, which hit a 2012 settlement high on Thursday, fell 0.16% to $3.042 a gallon.

In metals, gold climbed $4.80, or 0.28%, to $1,733 a troy ounce.

Traders shed safe-haven U.S. Treasury bonds as they moved into riskier asset classes. The yield on the benchmark 10-year note climbed 4.3-basis points to 2.024%. Yields on bonds move in the opposite direction of prices.

Foreign Markets

European blue chips rallied 1.1%, the English FTSE 100 gained 0.54% to 5,917 and the German DAX jumped 1.4% to 6,843.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 climbed 1.6% to 9,384 and the Chinese Hang Seng rose 1% to 21,492.

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