Wall Street Set to Post Solid Monthly Advance


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U.S. stock-index futures climbed higher Friday, as the major market averages looked to cap November with solid gains.

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Today's Markets

As of 8:00 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 49 points, or 0.3%, to 16122, S&P 500 futures rose 5.3 points, or 0.24%, to 1809 and Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 16.3 points, or 0.47%, to 3484.

It's been another good month for Wall Street. The Dow is up 3.5%, the broader S&P 500 is 2.9% to the upside and the tech-heavy Nasdaq is up 3.2%. Both the Dow and S&P are trading at record highs, while the Nasdaq is at a 13-year high. The gains so far this month have been driven by ongoing hopes the Federal Reserve will continue buying bonds at a clip of $85 billion a month until early next year.

Trading is expected to be very light on the day, with U.S. equity markets closing at 1 p.m. ET. The economic calendar is also barren.

On the foreign front, Standard & Poor's slashed the Netherlands' credit rating to "AA+" from "AAA." Spain's outlook, meanwhile, was upgraded to "stable" from "negative." Markets in Europe rose modestly on the day, while Asian shares were mixed.

"Overall, European risky assets were also supported by stronger consumer confidence, which reached the highest level since mid-2011 yesterday," Barclays wrote in a note to clients.

In corporate news, traders were paying close attention to retailers like Wal-Mart (NYSE:TGT), Target (NYSE:TGT) and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) as the key holiday-shopping season kicks off.

U.S. crude oil prices climbed 49 cents, or 0.53%, to $92.79 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.06% to $2.697 a gallon. Gold jumped $15.40, or 1.2%, to $1,253 a troy ounce.

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