Wall Street Looks to Rise After Rout

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U.S. stock-index futures signaled Wall Street may kick off the day in the green on the heels of the second worst selloff of the year.

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Today's Markets

As of 7:40 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 20 points to 12522, S&P 500 futures gained 2 points to 1320 and Nasdaq 100 futures were flat at 2552.

The Dow tumbled 251 points, or 2%, on Thursday as traders responded to a round of bleak economic data from many of the world's biggest economies. Friday started off with another weak report from Germany. A closely-watched survey of business sentiment from Ifo fell for the second-straight month to the lowest level in two years. It comes as yet another sign that even Europe's most powerful economy, seen as a safe haven, is feeling the effects of the debt crisis that is now well into its second year.

There are no major U.S. economic reports on tap on the day, so market participants are once again shifting their focus back to Europe. The leaders of Germany, France, Italy and Spain, Europe's four biggest economies, were set to meet in Rome on Friday to discuss measures to stem the deepening sovereign debt crisis. This comes amid a gloomy backdrop: Spain and Italy's borrowing costs are both painfully high, raising the specter that either could need a bailout. Given their size, providing either country with rescue aid could wipe out Europe's resources.

In corporate news, Moody's Investors Service sliced the ratings of 15 major global financial institutions including: J.P. Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Citigroup (NYSE:C), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS). The move was broadly expected, so the market reaction was fairly muted.

Oil futures rebounded slightly after plunging 4% to the lowest level since October on Thursday. The benchmark contract traded in New York rose 40 cents, 0.54%, to $78.62 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline gained 0.45% to $2.562 a gallon.

In metals, gold climbed $5.30, or 0.34%, to $1,571 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 dipped 0.24% to 2194, the English FTSE 100 dropped 0.9% to 5516 and the German DAX slumped 0.75% to 6296.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 edged lower by 0.29% to 8798 and the Chinese Hang Seng sold off by 1.4% to 18995.