U.S. stock futures were almost flat on Friday with investors keeping an eye on inflation and consumer sentiment data, scheduled to be released later today. Wall Street investors will be also curious to find out whether the S&P 500 Index could breach its all-time-high level on Friday.
On Thursday, the benchmark Dow Jones Index stretched its all-time-high level and extended its winning streak for the 10th successive day. The market sentiment was boosted by an unexpectedly strong U.S. job data, which showed weekly jobless claims falling against economists’ expectation of an increase.
At last check, futures on Dow Jones Industrial Average Index slipped 0.01%; those on NASDAQ 100 Index added 0.08% while futures on S&P 500 Index slid 0.02%.
On U.S. economic data front, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its data on Consumer Price Index (CPI) for February at 8:30 a.m. EST. Economists polled by Reuters are expecting CPI to rise by 0.5% over the previous month. Core inflation, (excluding food and energy items) is forecasted to rise by 0.2% against 0.3% increase in previous month.
At 9:15 a.m. EST, the Federal Reserve will release its data on industrial production and capacity utilization for the month of February. Reuters’ poll shows that economists are expecting industrial production to rise by 0.4% while capacity utilization will be at 79.3%. Industrial production declined 0.1% in January and capacity utilization was at 79.1%.
Later at 9:55 a.m. EST, University of Michigan’s preliminary reading on the Consumer Sentiment for March is due. Analysts polled by Reuters predict the index to climb to 78.0 in March from 77.6 in February.
Shares of Molycorp Inc. (NYSE: MCP
) will be under spotlight after the rare metals mining company reported wider-than-expected losses due to falling output, pressure on prices and a huge write-down , late last evening but said that business will improve from second half of 2013. The Company also announced slashing of unspecified number of jobs in order to cut costs.