Stock Futures Climb; Sentiment Data on Tap


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U.S. stock-index futures climbed on Friday, potentially putting the Dow and S&P 500 in striking distance of all-time highs, as traders mulled corporate news and awaited a reading consumer sentiment.

Today's Markets

As of 7:46 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 38 points to 15250, S&P 500 futures advanced 4.8 points to 1653 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 8 points to 3006.

In a sign of Wall Street's upward momentum of late, the S&P 500 dipped 0.5% on Thursday in what was the second-biggest loss of the month. The broad-market index was up close to 16% for the year as of Thursday's close, and remains just points away from its all-time high.

After a round of broadly discouraging news on the U.S. economy Thursday, traders will get a batch of data on the consumer sector on the day.

Economists expect the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment gauge to have jumped to 78 in early May from 76.4 in April.

"The early May reading of the index should give a clearer picture of consumer sentiment as uncertainty over fiscal policy has waned," economists at Nomura wrote to clients ahead of the report.

In corporate news, J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) posted considerably weaker-than-expected first-quarter earnings on the top and bottom lines after the closing bell Thursday. Still, Deborah Weinswig, an analyst at Citigroup (NYSE:C), said she was "encouraged" by chief executive Mike Ullman's strategic plan. The bank upped its price target by $5 to $20.

Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) revealed quarterly profits that were far shy of expectations, but sales that widely beat estimates.

In commodities, oil and gasoline prices ticked up. The benchmark U.S. crude contract rose 29 cents, or 0.3%, to $95.45 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline jumped 0.77% to $2.905 a gallon. In metals, gold fell $8.40, or 0.61%, to $1,379 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 climbed 0.67% to 15138, the English FTSE 100 gained 0.31% to 6709 and the German DAX rose 0.08% to 8376.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 rallied 0.67% to 15138 and the Chinese Hang Seng advanced 0.17% to 23083.

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