Stocks are set to open flat Friday, with no real news events to guide the market aggressively one way or the other. Approximately one hour before the opening bell on Wall Street, stock index futures indicated that the Dow ($INDU) and the NASDAQ ($COMPQ) might open the session with modest gains.
A report on existing home sales is due out at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time. Economists expect the report to show a 2% decline for February, which follows a 3% drop the month before.
Among the stocks to watch, Amgen (AMGN) is set to open lower after the company said it stopped a study of Vectibix, which was used along with Genentech's (DNA) Avastin and chemotherapy to treat colorectal cancer. The study was halted due to safety concerns. Kraft Foods (KFT) might head higher on news it is being added to the S&P 500 Index ($SPX). Nike (NKE) shares fell in overseas trading after the company's latest earnings report topped analyst estimates, but revenues came up a bit shy of expectations. Palm (PALM) posted profits of 16 cents a share, which was double analyst expectations, but UBS downgraded the stock following the news.
Crude oil is off on profit taking. Crude surged more than $2.00 a barrel yesterday after government reports showed greater refinery usage for the first time in weeks. Crude is down 30 cents to $61.39 a barrel.
Overall, there isn't much news to report today. As a results, stocks might start the day Friday the way they finished Thursdayâwith out much action and drifting quietly higher.
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