Plan to Support Japan Pushes Stock Futures Up

Japan mktsStocks were poised to rise Friday after the world’s seven largest industrialized countries backed a plan to bring the Japanese yen down from historic highs.

Japan’s currency has soared in value since an earthquake a week ago and unfolding nuclear crisis have devastated the country. A stronger yen could lead to a slowdown its export-driven economy by making its goods more expensive overseas. Japan is the world’s third-largest economy and accounts for 10 percent of U.S. exports. Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei index closed 2.7 percent higher after the announcement Friday.

Ahead of the opening bell, Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 78 points, or 0.7 percent, to 11,789.

Standard & Poor’s 500 futures were up 10, or 0.8 percent, to 1,278. Nasdaq 100 futures were up 14, or 0.6 percent, to 2,240.

Oil prices rose 1.6 percent to $103.09 a barrel after the United Nations Security Council approved a no-fly zone over Libya and authorized military strikes against forces loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi.
There are no major economic reports scheduled for Friday.

Nike Inc. fell 7.5 percent in pre-market trading after the company missed analyst expectations. The company warned investors that rising costs would cut into its profits over the second half of the year, even as sales increased. It announced plans to raise prices beginning this spring.

Stocks finished Thursday with their first gains of the week after reports showing that the U.S. economy is improving helped investors put aside their concerns over the nuclear crisis in Japan. Stocks rose broadly, with all 10 company groups in the S&P index gaining.

Each major stock index is on track to end the week with losses. The S&P index is down 2.3 percent for the week. The Dow is down 2.2 percent. The Nasdaq is down 2.9 percent.

Source: The Associated Press