U.S. stock-index futures pared modest losses shortly before the open on Friday, with the main indexes on track for sizable weekly and quarterly gains. The Dow industrials was set to post the sixth straight quarterly gain, the longest streak since 2006.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures
were flat at 20,653, while S&P 500 futures
were off by 2 points, or 0.1%, to 2,353. Nasdaq-100 futures
were unchanged at 5,436.
On Thursday, a rally by financial shares lifted the Dow industrials
to finish at 20,728.49, a 0.3% gain, while the S&P 500 index
also added 0.3% to close at 2,368.06. The Nasdaq Composite
rose 0.3% to 5,914.34, for its fifth-straight session of gains and 21st record close for the year.
Friday marks the end of the week, month and quarter. The Nasdaq is set to log the best performance of the major U.S. indexes in March—a 1.5% rise, with one more session to go. The S&P 500 is looking at a modest advance of 0.2%, while the Dow is set to lose around 0.4% for the month.
For the first quarter, the Nasdaq is set to deliver the best return of the three main indexes, with a nearly 10% gain as of Thursday’s close. The S&P 500 is eyeing a 5.8% rise. The DJIA is poised to add nearly 5%, which would be its sixth-straight positive quarter and the longest winning streak since the fourth quarter of 2006.
“It’s been a very good first quarter, with the 20,000 hurdle in the Dow proving to be the catalyst for another spring higher. March appears to just be a natural pullback at the minute, but it’s still early to say,” said Erlam.
“We’ll get a much better idea of how much faith investors have in [U.S. President Donald] Trump and therefore the rally early on in the quarter, with some investors possibly already seeing this as the dip that should be bought,” he added.
Data and Fed speakers: The rate of inflation in consumer goods and services topped 2% in February for the first time since 2012. A government report that tracks consumer spending showed a scant 0.1% increase last month.
The Chicago purchasing managers index for March is expected at 9:45 a.m. Eastern, while the University of Michigan survey of consumer sentiment for March is scheduled for release at 10 a.m. Eastern.
William Dudley, the president of the New York Fed, was scheduled to appear on Bloomberg TV at 9 a.m. Eastern, followed by a Bloomberg interview with St. Louis Fed President James Bullard at 10:30 a.m. Eastern.
In between, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari will hold a question-and-answer session at the Annual Banking Law Institute in Minneapolis at 10 a.m. Eastern.
Stocks to watch: BlackBerry Ltd.
shares rose 3.5% in premarket after trimming losses and stating that it expects to be profitable on an adjusted earnings-per-share basis in fiscal 2018.
Akari Therapeutics PLC
rose 11% gain after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted one of its treatments a “fast-track” designation.
on Friday said it would sell part of its crop-protection business to FMC Corp.
in exchange for $1.2 billion in cash and FMC Health and Nutrition. Shares of FMC rose 5.7% in premarket trading, while DuPont was slightly higher.
Other markets: Asian stocks
finished Friday’s session on a largely weaker note, with the Nikkei 225 index
marking its lowest close since Feb. 1 at 18,909, and losing 1.1% on the quarter. One of the best quarterly performances in the region came from the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index
which finished up 9.6%.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index
fell, but was headed for its third-straight quarterly rise. The FTSE 100 index
also down, was set for its longest quarterly winning streak since 2011.