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Wall Street Set For Higher Open

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The U.S. stock futures point to a slightly higher opening Friday, as traders look to shake off the pessimism generated by a weak jobless report yesterday A slew of economic reports, including preliminary Q4 GDP report, the results of ISM-Chicago's business survey for February, consumer sentiment index and existing home sales will be of interest to traders.

As of 6.15 am ET, the Dow futures were up 13.00 points, and the S&P futures were up 2.20 points, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures were up 1.50 points.

On the economic front, the Bureau of Economic Analysis will release its preliminary fourth quarter GDP report at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists expect the report to confirm the advance report's estimate of a 5.7% growth in the fourth quarter.

At 9.45 a.m. ET, results of the Institute of Supply Management-Chicago's business survey for February will be released. Economists expect the business barometer index based on the survey to come in at 59.

At 9.55 a.m. ET, the Reuters/University of Michigan's final report on the consumer sentiment index for February will be released. The consumer sentiment index is expected to be revised up to 74 from the mid-month of reading of 73.7.

A report on existing home sales for January will be released by the National Association of Realtors at 10 a.m. ET. Economists estimate existing home sales of 5.45 million for the month.

Before the market opens for trading, insurer American International (AIG), CenterPoint (CNP), Magellan Health (MGLN) and Mirant (MIR) are among the major companies that will be reporting their quarterly results.

After the markets closed for trading in the previous session, software solutions provider Novell Inc. (NOVL) reported a higher profit in its first quarter, helped lower operating expenses, notwithstanding a decline in revenues. Earnings for the quarter were in line with estimates, but revenues fell short of expectations. Looking ahead to the second quarter, Novell expects sequential revenues to be flat.

Oil Light sweet crude oil for April delivery is presently quoted at $78.42 a barrel, up $0.25 from its previous close of $78.17 a barrel in New York on Thursday.

Dollar The U.S. dollar is presently trading higher against the pound, but weakening against the pound and the yen.

World Markets The markets across Asia ended in positive territory on increasing optimism about sustaining global recovery after Japan reported better than expected economic data. Wall Street's resilience, which cut its losses despite the weaker than expected jobless claims report and Greece concerns reignited optimism about global economic recovery as investors resorted to bargain hunting at lower levels. The markets across Europe are also trading in positive territory lifted by better than expected economic data in the UK.

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