Stocks Futures Point to Higher Open Ahead of Consumer Data

NEW YORK - Wall Street looked to extend its gains into a third straight session Friday as investors awaited a reading on consumer confidence and digested a busy week of corporate earnings reports.

Investors want to see if the preliminary April reading for the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index will offer insight into the mind-set of the consumer amid a slowdown in the economy. A big drop in consumer confidence could unnerve Wall Street as consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.

Investors are likely still examining a disappointing forecast from Microsoft Corp. The tech leader said after the closing bell Thursday that worldwide sales next year should offset weakness in the U.S. economy. Still, investors appeared unimpressed by Microsoft's forecast for the current quarter and its revenue figures.

But investors seemed to look past some of their concerns early Friday, sending stock futures higher as the dollar showed strength again against other major currencies.

Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 51, or 0.40 percent, to 12,882. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures advanced 6.00, or 0.43 percent, to 1,392.00, and Nasdaq 100 index futures rose 4.50, or 0.23 percent, to 1,925.25.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, rose to 3.89 percent from 3.83 percent late Thursday.

The dollar's advance sent prices of many commodities lower. Light, sweet crude rose 70 cents to $116.76 per barrel in premarket electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In corporate news, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. turned in a first-quarter profit compared with a loss a year earlier as revenue increased. The tiremaker said it focused on higher-priced tires and international markets.

Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average closed up 2.28 percent. In afternoon trading, Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.27 percent, Germany's DAX index advanced 1.13 percent, and France's CAC-40 rose 1.02 percent.

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