Stock Futures Rise as Europe Boosts Bailout Funds
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were signaling a rebound Friday as eurozone finance leaders agreed to ramp up the size of the eurozone's rescue funds.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were higher by 43 points, or 44.2 points above fair value, at 13,121. Futures for the S&P 500 were rising 5.1 points, or 5.1 points above fair value, at 1403. Futures for the Nasdaq were adding 9.3 points, or 9.8 points above fair value, at 2768.
With the first quarter coming to an end, the stock market is shaping up for what could be its best first quarter since 1998. The S&P 500, which has increased about 12% so far this quarter, has only seen double-digit first-quarter gains 11 times since 1928.
U.S. stocks closed Thursday's trading session mixed amid weak European markets and a miss on weekly initial jobless claims.
Eurozone finance ministers have agreed to strengthen the single-currency bloc's debt crisis firewall to about €800 billion ($1.1 trillion), said Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter, before a meeting of European finance ministers in Copenhagen. While the eurozone seeks to protect Italy and Spain from the pains of the debt crisis, eurozone leaders have agreed on the lowest figure accepted by nations including Germany, Finland and the Netherlands, where the public has frowned upon additional funding for bailouts.
About €500 billion of that money would come from the permanent, European Stability Mechanism when it becomes available in July, and €200 billion is coming through the European Financial Stability Facility. A further €53 billion will be derived from bilateral loans that have been made available to Greece and €49 billion from the European Financial Stability Mechanism.
It was also announced Friday that Spain will be cutting ministry spending by 16%.
London's FTSE was spiking 0.6% and Germany's DAX was gaining 1%. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei Average closed down 0.3% on Friday and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index finished lower by 0.3%.
In U.S. economic news, the Commerce Department reported spending among American consumers rose 0.8% in February, exceeding the estimated 0.6% rise, and above the 0.4% increase the prior month. The February increase in spending was the largest since July.
Personal income rose 0.2%, compared with the increase of 0.4% that economists were expecting, and after rising 0.2% in January.
The Chicago Fed's purchasing managers index is expected to come in at 63 in March, down from the previous month's read of 64.
The last day of the week sees another read on the consumer front, this time from the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment survey. The survey is forecast to read at 74.7 in March, a touch higher than 74.3 in February.
Your one-stop shop for 2012 stock recommendations and market predictions.