US futures higher with Europe willing to act

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IOL wall street

US stock index futures rose on Friday as major central banks prepared possible coordinated action if the results of Greek elections this weekend lead to turmoil in financial markets.

* Officials from the Group of 20 leading industrialised nations told Reuters that central banks from major economies would take steps to stabilise markets and prevent a credit squeeze, if necessary. European shares climbed 1.1 percent.

* Markets have been highly volatile in a thinly traded week, with the S&P 500 moving more than 1 percent for three of the past four days. The uncertainty stems from the Sunday Greek election, which many investors fear could result in the country leaving the euro zone.

* Hints of action by central banks invigorated Wall Street late in the session on Thursday, sparking an afternoon rally that erased the S&P's losses for the week. The benchmark index is now up 0.3 percent on the week.

* S&P 500 futures rose 4.9 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures added 57 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 10 points.

* Investors will also be looking ahead to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary June reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment, which is seen falling to 77.5 in the month from 79.3 in May. Other data include US May industrial output, expected to rise month over month in May by 0.1 percent.

* Recent economic indicators have pointed to sluggish growth in the US economy, including Thursday's unexpected rise in jobless claims. However, US equities have largely tracked the European developments and has in some cases shrugged off domestic data.

* Some investors think the weak data makes it more likely the Federal Reserve will signal more easy money to counter the slowing growth when it releases its policy statement next Wednesday at the close of a two-day meeting.

* The Wall Street Journal reported Microsoft Corp would buy Yammer Inc for $1.2 billion, citing a person familiar with the matter.

* China granted conditional approval to US conglomerate United Technologies Corp's $16.5 billion takeover of aircraft parts maker Goodrich Corp, saying Goodrich needed to divest or sell parts of some businesses. - Reuters


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