Stock Futures Rally as Traders Remain Focused on Europe

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Hopes that European policymakers are taking steps to stem the rapid spread of the region's debt crisis sent stock-index futures solidly higher on Friday.

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Today's Markets

As of 9:08 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures jumped 67 points to 11,806, S&P 500 futures gained 7.5 points to 1,222 and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 11.8 points to 2,280.

Trading on Wall Street has been very volatile for the past two sessions with the Dow making abrupt, triple-digit moves as traders have reacted to a deluge of headlines on Europe's debt crisis. As of Thursday's close, the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 are all down more than 3% for the week.

The yield on Spanish and Italian debt ticked lower after the European Central Bank stepped bought those countries bonds, according to multiple media reports.

The euro soared 1.1% to $1.361 on the news as traders hoped Europe would take further steps to ease the crisis.  Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar slumped 0.8% against a basket of six world currencies.

Global policymakers, along with market participants, have been concerned that the sovereign debt crisis that began in relatively small economies with high public debt is beginning to materially affect much larger ones by pushing up borrowing costs, which creates a perilous feedback loop that increases the country's debt burden.

"Contagion has now happened," Louise Cooper, a senior analyst at London-based BGC Partners said in an interview with FOX Business, citing officials' inability to put a "firewall" around countries like Greece.

European blue chips were up 0.52%, shedding earlier losses.

Traders have also been paying close attention to energy markets, where crude oil prices have been hovering about the $100 a barrel mark for the first time in months. A weaker dollar added support on Friday.

The benchmark oil contract traded in New York jumped $1.24, or 1.3%, to $100.06 a barrel.  Wholesale RBOB gasoline rose 3 cents, or 1.3%, to $2.54 a gallon.

Consumer gasoline prices have yet to be affected by the dramatic shift in futures markets.  A gallon of regular costs $3.38 on average nationwide, down from the $3.44 drivers paid last week, but still well higher than the $2.89 last year, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report.

The economic calendar is fairly light on Friday, with the Conference Board's leading indicators report on tap for 10:00 a.m. ET.  Economists are expecting a 0.6% increase in October from the month prior.

U.S. government debt yields moved higher after falling in the prior session.  The benchmark 10-year note yields 2.017% from 1.965%.

Foreign Markets

European blue chips rose 0.52%, the English FTSE 100 fell 0.42% to 5,400 and the German DAX gained 0.41% to 5,874.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 slid 1.2% to 8,375 and the Chinese Hang Seng sold off by 1.7% to 18,491.

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