By Polya Lesova, MarketWatch
FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) â" U.S. stock futures pointed higher on Friday, while the U.S. dollar fell against major rivals and gold gained, as strong economic data from China encouraged appetite for assets perceived as risky.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\z10 (DJZ10 10,774, +51.00, +0.48%) Â advanced 44 points to 10,767 and S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\z10 (SPZ10 1,143, +6.70, +0.59%) Â rose 5.60 points to 1,142.40.
Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\z10 (NDZ10 2,010, +14.50, +0.73%) Â added 13.50 points to 2,009.
U.S. stocks ended lower on Thursday, but the blue-chip Dow index /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 10,788, -47.23, -0.44%) Â gained 7.7% last month, posting its best September performance since 1939 when it rose 13.5%.
Asian stocks finished mostly higher overnight, underpinned by data showing an acceleration in Chinaâs manufacturing activity. The official Chinese purchasing mangers index rose to 53.8 in September from 51.7 the previous month.TODAY'S TOP MARKET STORIES
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European equities were also mostly higher in intraday trading, with the Stoxx Europe 600 index /quotes/comstock/22c!sxxp (ST:SXXP 260.36, +0.64, +0.25%) Â rising 0.1%.
The key economic report of the day will come after the opening bell on Wall Street, at 10 a.m. Eastern time, when the Institute for Supply Managementâs manufacturing index for September will be released.
Most analysts expect the index to decline to 54.5 from 56.3 in August, according to Deutsche Bank, whose economists expect a reading of 54.
The Chicago purchasing managers index unexpectedly rose in September, data showed on Thursday.
âDespite some fairly consistent regional manufacturing weakness, yesterdayâs Chicago index suggests that anything is possible from todayâs manufacturing ISM,â analysts at ING said in a note to clients.
If the ISM data are much weaker than the consensus expects, âwe should see bond yields move lower again, helped by expectations that a new bout of QE [quantitative easing] might be unleashed â" perhaps as early as the November FOMC meeting,â they said.
Also, August personal-income data are due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.
Car manufacturers will be in focus, as they are scheduled to report sales numbers for September.
Shares of Hewlett-Packard Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!hpq/quotes/nls/hpq (HPQ 42.07, -0.46, -1.08%) Â fell 2% in premarket trading. The firm said late Thursday that Leo Apotheker has been appointed as chief executive officer and president. Apotheker previously served as CEO of Germanyâs SAP AG /quotes/comstock/13*!sap/quotes/nls/sap (SAP 49.31, -0.31, -0.62%) .
Shares of Spanish oil and gas firm Repsol YPF /quotes/comstock/13*!rep/quotes/nls/rep (REP 25.73, -0.06, -0.23%) Â /quotes/comstock/06x!e:rep (ES:REP 20.05, +1.16, +6.11%) Â rallied 6.5% in premarket trading. The company said that China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. /quotes/comstock/22h!e:386 (HK:386 6.88, +0.01, +0.15%) Â , also known as Sinopec, will buy a 40% stake in Repsolâs Brazilian upstream subsidiary for $7.1 billion. Repsol will retain 60% of the resulting company, which is valued at $17.8 billion.
BP PLC /quotes/comstock/13*!bp/quotes/nls/bp (BP 41.17, +1.17, +2.93%) Â /quotes/comstock/23s!a:bp. (UK:BP. 440.70, +12.90, +3.02%) Â was also in focus after saying it has pledged assets as collateral for the $20 billion trust set up to pay for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The total cost of the spill response has risen to $11.2 billion, the company added.
On the earnings front, technology and outsourcing firm Accenture PLC /quotes/comstock/13*!acn/quotes/nls/acn (ACN 42.49, +0.19, +0.45%) Â reported an increase in fiscal fourth-quarter profit that beat analyst estimates. The stock rose 4% in premarket trading.
Shares of Gymboree Corp. /quotes/comstock/15*!gymb/quotes/nls/gymb (GYMB 41.54, -0.71, -1.68%) Â surged 20% in premarket trading. The Wall Street Journal reported that Gymboree is exploring interest in a possible sale of the firm to private-equity companies.
Oil futures gained, while the U.S. dollar fell against other major currencies.
The dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 (DXY 78.26, -0.46, -0.58%) Â dropped 0.5% to 78.288; the euro rallied 0.7% to $1.3723. The British pound gained 0.7% to $1.5837.
Crude oil for November delivery rose $1.05 to $81.02 a barrel in electronic trading on Globex.
December gold futures, meanwhile, gained $6.10 to $1,315.70 an ounce.
Polya Lesova is chief of MarketWatchâs London bureau.Powered By iWebRSS.com