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Stock-index futures climbed higher on the last trading day of a highly-volatile week after Italy's Senate passed crucial debt-reduction measures, and traders awaited data on consumer sentiment.
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As of 9:05 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures jumped 99 points to 11,955, S&P 500 futures gained 12.5 points to 1,250 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 22.5 points to 2,326.
It has been a tumultuous week for Wall Street as market participants have parsed through a deluge of headlines on the euro zone's sovereign debt crisis.
Italy, the euro zone's third-biggest economy, is making headway on passing economic reforms that analysts see as a crucial part of knocking down its enormous $2.6 trillion public debt load. The country's Senate approved a key debt-reduction law on Friday, which paves the way for final approval over the weekend. Additionally, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi agreed to resign after the law is passed, potentially opening the door to the formation of an emergency coalition government that may be led by former European Union Competition Commissioner Mario Monti. Monti is seen by many analysts as having the capacity to run an emergency government that is capable of passing the reforms.
Italy saw its 10-year bond yields spike above 7% on Wednesday -- the level that forced Greece, Ireland and Portugal to require a bailout from EU governments and the International Monetary Fund. With the country's much more prominent economic standing, it has become more crucial than ever, analysts say, for Italy to convince the markets it can adapt reforms so it can sustain itself to retain access to financing in the private marketplace.
"We are not out of the woods just yet," Manoj Ladwa, a senior trader at London-based ETX Capital, warned in an interview with FOX Business, citing the still-dicey political climate in Europe and the bounty of economic data on tap for next week.
Indeed, it remains unclear whether the entire continent has the firepower, or the political will, to rescue one of the world's biggest economies if it became necessary. Plus political instability could potentially still force early elections instead of a unity government, while the chances of that setback are seeming slimmer.
European blue chips jumped 1.2%, while the euro climbed 0.3% to $1.364. Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar fell 0.18% against a basket of six world currencies.
On the U.S. front, traders will receive fresh data on consumer sentiment at 9:55 a.m. ET. Economist forecast sentiment to have ticked up slightly in early November from October. With the kick off of the crucial holiday shopping season looming just weeks away, sentiment data is particularly important. Analysts will be looking to see how the continuing market turmoil, Europe's debt crisis and a still-weak labor market is affecting the consumer.
Retailers like Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) may be particularly affected by these data. The consumer sector is also a major part of the broader economy, so a large swath of other companies may be affected as well.
In energy markets, crude oil prices are heading back toward the $100 mark after moderating in recent weeks. The benchmark WTI contract traded in New York climbed 14 cents, or 0.14%, to $97.92 a barrel. Wholesale RBOB gasoline fell 3 cents, or 1%, to $2.61 a gallon.
Gold rose $10.70, or 0.63%, to $1,771 a troy ounce. U.S. government debt markets are closed for the Veterans Day holiday.
European blue chips rose 1.1%, the English FTSE 100 climbed 0.66% to 5,481 and the German DAX rallied 1.2% to 5,939.
In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 edged 0.16% higher to 8,514 and the Chinese Hang Seng jumped 0.91% to 19,137.