Stocks Look to Extend Gains as Traders Eye Europe

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U.S. stock-index futures signaled more gains for Wall Street on Friday as traders closely watched developments in Europe on the final trading day before the pivotal elections in Greece.

Today's Markets

As of 9:17 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 17 points to 12624, S&P 500 futures rose 0.75 point to 1327 and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 3.3 points to 2538.

It has been a particularly volatile week for the markets, with single headlines causing big fluctuations on a daily basis. The S&P 500 tacked on 1.1% on Thursday on news that global policymakers may be planning action to buoy the financial system should it lock up following the Greek election on Sunday.

In particular, traders responded bullishly to news that the Bank of England and UK Treasury will provide 100 billion pounds worth of emergency lending to shore up the country's economy. At roughly the same time, Reuters reported that central banks are ready to deploy a coordinated action following the Greek election if it becomes necessary. A spokesperson for the European Central Bank declined to comment on the report.

Market participants remained very cautious with the outcome of the elections in Greece up in the air. Opinion polls showed a tight race between the pro-bailout and anti-bailout parties.

The markets will also get several reports on the U.S. economy on the day.

The New York Federal Reserve's regional manufacturing gauge plunged to 2.29 in June from 17.09 in May, a significantly worse reading than the 13 expected. Readings above zero point to expansion while those below indicate contraction. A separate report from the Fed showed U.S. industrial production fell 0.1% in May from the month before, worse than the 0.1% gain that was expected.

The Reuters/University of Michigan survey of consumer sentiment is due out later in the morning. Economists expect sentiment to have edged lower in early June from the end of May. The consumer sector is critically important tot he U.S. economy, and this report frequently garners a reaction from the markets.

Commodity futures were modestly higher. The benchmark crude oil contract traded in New York rose 45 cents, or 0.54%, to $84.34 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline gained 0.25% to $2.68 a gallon.

In metals, gold edged up by $6.40, or 0.38%, to $1,626 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 rallied 1.8% to 2187, the English FTSE 100 gained 0.57% to 5498 and the German DAX jumped 1.6% to 6238.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 inched higher by 0.01% to 8569 and the Chinese Hang Seng soared 2.3% to 19234.