By Simon Kennedy , MarketWatch
LONDON (MarketWatch) â" U.S. stock futures pointed higher Friday after investors shrugged off worries about Japanâs latest earthquake, while oil and gold prices resumed their rally.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\m11 (DJM11 12,404, +53.00, +0.43%) Â rose 43 points to 12,394, and Standard & Poorâs 500 index futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\m11 (SPM11 1,335, +6.00, +0.45%) Â climbed 5.5 points to 1,334.
Futures on the Nasdaq 100 /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\m11 (NDM11 2,338, +8.75, +0.38%) Â added 6 points to 2,335.25.
Asia's week ahead
China's first-quarter GDP and other data will take the spotlight next week in Asia, as well as central-bank meetings in South Korea and Indonesia. MarketWatch's Lisa Twaronite in Tokyo looks at the week ahead.
On Thursday, U.S. markets closed lower after another earthquake shook Japan, less than a month after a devastating earthquake and tsunami claimed thousands of lives. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 12,409, -17.26, -0.14%) Â closed down 0.1%.
However, Japanese markets recovered from early losses to close higher, tossing aside any jitters caused by the overnight aftershock and benefiting from some strong retail-sector earnings reports.
The Nikkei Stock Average /quotes/comstock/64e!i:ni225 (JP:NI225 9,768, +177.15, +1.85%) Â closed up 1.8% and helped drive gains for European markets. Germanyâs DAX 30 index /quotes/comstock/30p!dax (DX:DAX 7,223, +43.83, +0.61%) Â rose 0.6% in midday trading.
Commodity prices continued to rally strongly. Light crude for May delivery surged $1.57 to $111.87 a barrel in electronic trading on Globex.
Gold for June delivery added $13.50 to $1,472.80 an ounce. Read more on gains for gold and silver.
âIt looks as if we could be back to the days of flagging up a new record high on gold on a daily basis,â said Simon Smith, chief economist at foreign-exchange broker FXPro, in an email.
But if gold is strong, silver is âon fire,â Smith said, noting the metal is up a further 5% so far this month. He added that hopes for a U.S. budget deal look to be going down to the wire, with a government shutdown set to begin at midnight if a deal canât be reached.
âThe prospect of a government shutdown, whilst not necessarily a major dollar-negative factor, has nevertheless highlighted just how much fiscal issues are going to be an ever-more important factor for the U.S. in the coming months and years,â he said.
The dollar was having a mixed session, gaining against the yen but weakening against the euro, which rose 0.8% to $1.4415.
On the economic front, data on wholesale inventories for February will be released after Fridayâs opening bell.
Among stocks to watch, shares of online travel-service provider Expedia Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!expe/quotes/nls/expe (EXPE 22.40, -0.08, -0.36%) Â jumped 14% in premarket trading after the company said it will split into two by spinning off its TripAdvisor arm.
Hard-disk manufacturer Seagate Technology PLC /quotes/comstock/15*!stx/quotes/nls/stx (STX 14.69, -0.07, -0.47%) Â was another advancer, climbing 5.7% before the open after saying late Thursday that it will reinstate dividend payments.
On the downside, shares of oil-exploration group Hercules Offshore Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!hero/quotes/nls/hero (HERO 6.38, +0.15, +2.41%) Â dropped 9.7% in premarket trading after the company said itâs being investigated by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission for potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act./quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\m11 DJ IND AVG JUN1 (DJM11) $ 12,404 Change +53.00 +0.43%Volume 71.00 Real time quotes /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\m11 SP500 IDX JUN1 (SPM11) $ 1,335 Change +6.00 +0.45%Volume 2,220 Real time quotes /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\m11 NASD 100 JUN1 (NDM11) $ 2,338 Change +8.75 +0.38%Volume 21.00 Real time quotes /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) 12,409 Change -17.26 -0.14%Volume 158.59m Real time quotes /quotes/comstock/64e!i:ni225 NIKKEI 225 INDEX (NI225) 9,768 Change +177.15 +1.85%Volume 215,006 Real time quotes /quotes/comstock/30p!dax GERMAN SE XETRA DAX INDEX (DAX) 7,223 Change +43.83 +0.61%Volume 54.41m Real time quotes /quotes/comstock/15*!expe/quotes/nls/expe Expedia Inc (EXPE) $ 22.40 Change -0.08 -0.36%Volume 6.43m Real time quotes /quotes/comstock/15*!stx/quotes/nls/stx Seagate Technology PLC (STX) $ 14.69 Change -0.07 -0.47%Volume 6.60m Real time quotes /quotes/comstock/15*!hero/quotes/nls/hero Hercules Offshore Inc (HERO) $ 6.38 Change +0.15 +2.41%Volume 6.23m Real time quotes
Simon Kennedy is the City correspondent for MarketWatch in London.Powered By iWebRSS.com