Friday February 26th


Futures hold higher after data; oil eyed

U.S. stock index futures indicated a higher open on Friday as traders eyed data and the price of oil. Dow futures held earlier gains of more than 100 points after the second read on fourth-quarter gross domestic product showed a 1.0 percent rise. Final consumer sentiment for February is due later in the morning. On the earnings front, Foot Locker, JC Penney and Sotheby's posted results Friday. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed up 0.30 percent, while the Shanghai Composite in China closed 0.95 percent higher. In Europe, the pan European Stoxx 600 Index was up by around 1.97 percent on Friday morning. Crude oil prices reversed early losses on Friday, with Brent on track for its first weekly gain in a month, as strong U.S. gasoline demand and hopes of OPEC action outweighed concerns over fundamental oversupply. Brent crude futures rose $1.42, or 4 percent, to $36.71 per barrel at 8:41 a.m. ET (1341 GMT), about $2 above an intraday low of $34.73. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up $1.17, or 3.5 percent, at $34.24 a barrel, off a low of $32.76. Futures extended gains after government data showed U.S. economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter, but not as sharply as initially thought. Gold edged higher on Friday despite a rebound in stocks, underscoring support for the safe-haven asset from bullish technicals and money flows into exchange traded funds. Asian shares rose following a firmer finish on Wall Street and as investors awaited a meeting of the Group of 20 finance leaders that will likely offer reassuring words, but little in the way of actual policy stimulus. Spot gold gained 0.1 percent to $1,235.21 an ounce.