WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Following the rebound seen in the previous session, stocks may show a lack of direction in early trading on Friday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a roughly flat open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures nearly unchanged.
Stocks had appeared poised for a continued advance earlier in the morning following reports U.S. lawmakers are inching closer to an agreement that would raise the debt limit for about two years.
However, the futures gave back ground following the release of a Commerce Department showing an acceleration in the annual rate of consumer growth in the month of April.
The report said the annual rate of consumer price growth accelerated to 4.4 percent in April from 4.2 percent in March.
The annual rate of growth by core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy prices, also accelerated to 4.7 percent in April from 4.6 percent in March.
The inflation readings are said to be preferred by the Federal Reserve, potentially adding to recent uncertainty about the outlook for interest rates.
Nonetheless, technology stocks may see continued strength after helping lead the rally seen in the previous session.
Shares of Marvell Technology (MRVL) are soaring in pre-market trading after the chipmaker reported better than expected fiscal first quarter results and said it expects revenue growth to accelerate in the second half.
Shortly after the start of trading, the University of Michigan is scheduled to release its revised reading on consumer sentiment in the month of May. The consumer sentiment index for May is expected to be unrevised at 57.7, which was down from 63.5 in April.
Stocks moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday, regaining ground after moving sharply lower on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Nasdaq showed a particularly strong upward move, reflecting strength in the tech sector.
The Nasdaq surged 213.93 points or 1.7 percent to 12,698.09, bouncing back near the nine-month closing high set on Monday. The S&P 500 also jumped 36.04 points or 0.9 percent to 4,151.28, while the narrower Dow bucked the downtrend and edged down 35.27 points or 0.1 percent to 32,764.65.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index and China's Shanghai Composite Index both rose by 0.4 percent, while South Korea's Kospi inched up by 0.2 percent.
The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has climbed by 0.5 percent, the German DAX Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index are both up by 0.3 percent.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are rising $0.44 to $72.27 a barrel after plunging $2.51 to $71.83 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, after tumbling $20.90 to $1,943.70 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are inching up $1.10 to $1,944.80 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 140.17 yen versus the 140.06 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.0737 compared to yesterday's $1.0725.
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