By Peter Nurse
Investing.com – U.S. stocks are seen edging higher at the open Friday, looking to end a volatile week on a positive note with Chinese retail giants and Johnson&Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) in the spotlight.
At 7:15 AM ET (1215 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was up 105 points, or 0.3%, S&P 500 Futures traded 10 points, or 0.2%, higher and Nasdaq 100 Futures climbed 38 points, or 0.2%.
Despite the expected opening gains, the three major indices are on course to end the week lower, snapping five-week winning streaks, after the October consumer price index showed inflation running at an annual rate of 6.2%, a pace not seen in more than three decades.
The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 1.1% for the week at Thursday’s close, the broad-based S&P 500 is 1% lower, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite down 1.7%.
The inflation report added to recent data, including nonfarm payrolls earlier this month, that point to a burgeoning economic recovery, increasing the pressure on the Federal Reserve to tighten monetary policy.
After a busy week of earnings, Friday is relatively light in terms of corporate results with a lot of the focus being on the Chinese e-commerce sector in the wake of the Singles Day shopping festival.
Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), China’s largest ecommerce platform, reported that its sales grew 8.5%, the first time in history that its growth has slowed below 10%. Smaller rival JD.com (NASDAQ:JD) shone after reporting that its sales rose around 29% from the previous year.
Elsewhere, Johnson&Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) will also attract the interest of investors after the Wall Street Journal newspaper reported that the company plans to split into two, separating its consumer health division from its large pharmaceuticals unit. That adds to a trend of corporate simplification already evident this week in General Electric’s and – earlier on Friday – Toshiba (OTC:TOSYY)’s decision to break themselves up along business lines.
The economic data schedule centers around the preliminary reading of the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index for November, which is seen improving to 72.4 from the previous month’s 71.7.
Also due are the number of U.S. job openings in September, which are likely to have dropped to 10.3 million from 10.439 million in August.
Crude prices weakened Friday, weighed by the continued strength of the U.S. dollar which makes the commodity more expensive for non-U.S. buyers.
The release of the Baker Hughes rig count and CFTC positioning data round off a volatile week in the oil market, while eyes will also be on Glasgow as the U.N. climate summit concludes.
By 7 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 1.7% lower at $80.20 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 1.5% to $81.67.
Additionally, gold futures fell 0.7% to $1,850.10/oz, while EUR/USD traded largely flat at 1.1448.