Friday October 30th


Wall Street looks to data, earnings

U.S. stock index futures indicated a higher open on Friday as traders eyed more earnings and economic data. On Wednesday the Fed put markets on notice that a rate hike could be coming sooner, when it specifically indicated it could raise rates in December and detailed what it would consider in its decision-making process. There are two more monthly employment reports before the Fed's December meeting, but the Fed, and markets, will be very sensitive to all employment and inflation related data released over the next six weeks. In economic news, personal income rose 0.1 percent in September, while personal consumption rose 0.1 percent. The employment cost index rose 0.6 percent in the third quarter. The Fed's preferred inflation measure, the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, slipped 0.1 percent in September. The decline marked the first drop since January. Consumer sentiment is scheduled for release at 10:00 a.m. On the earnings front, AbbVie, Colgate-Palmolive and Exxon Mobil all reported before the bell. In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx 600 index was 0.2 percent lower on Friday morning. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei finished 0.78 percent higher, while in China the Shanghai Composite closed 0.13 percent lower. Crude futures held steady around $49 in early Friday trading, poised to post the first weekly gain in three weeks despite a supply glut that has tested storage capacity and hammered company results. The potential gain, driven by smaller-than-expected builds in U.S. oil stocks, was widely viewed as a temporary boost in a market that is awash with oil and staring down sluggish economic growth in key markets such as the United States and China. U.S. crude was up 8 cents at $46.14 a barrel at 7:49 a.m. EDT (1149 GMT). The benchmark is on track to post a gain of 2.4 percent this week. Brent crude rose 29 cents to $49.09 a barrel and is heading for an increase of 1 percent this week. The price of gold steadied on Friday as a retreat in the dollar helped it snap two days of losses, but prices remained near three-week lows after the U.S. Federal Reserve indicated that it might still raise interest rates this year. The price was also on track for its biggest weekly drop in nine weeks, down 1.4 percent, after the Fed indicated after its two-day policy meeting this week that a December rate rise is still a possibility. Rising interest rates tend to weigh on gold because they lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced. Spot gold was down 0.3 percent at $1,141.95 an ounce, little changed from $1,145.51 late on Thursday, after slipping to its lowest since Oct. 9 at $1,144.01 earlier. U.S. gold for December delivery was down $5.50 at $1,142.