Friday October 27th


US stocks futures tick higher after stronger-than-expected GDP data

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher on Friday as investors digested another slew of corporate earnings and the all-important U.S. GDP figures. Earnings season has dominated the limelight this week on Wall Street, with some of the biggest U.S. companies reporting. And Friday was no different, with ExxonMobil, MasterCard The Hershey Company, Cabot Oil & Gas, Xerox, Calpine all reporting quarterly results, among others. Chevron also reported earnings. While earnings have dominated market sentiment this week, investors are now expected to shift their focus to the Federal Reserve. As questions surface over when the central bank will raise interest rates, investors will be paying close attention for remarks out of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting, set to take place next Tuesday and Wednesday. Ahead of that meeting, data results are expected to be of key importance, with investors digesting the initial reading of U.S.' third-quarter GDP data, which came in better than expected at a 2.9 percent rate, According to a Reuters' survey of economists, the consensus forecast for GDP is expected to have increased at a 2.5 percent annual rate. The latest consumer sentiment figures are due out at 10 a.m. ET. Meanwhile in oil, prices came under pressure on Friday and were on track for a weekly loss, as doubts over whether OPEC members will agree to cut production weighed on the market, according to Reuters. Around 8:33 a.m. ET, U.S. WTI stood around $49.33 per barrel, while Brent crude hovered around $50.16. European stocks were under pressure, while Asia-Pacific indexes mostly ended mixed to lower overnight. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 finished up 0.63 percent, or 109.99 points, at 17,446.41, despite the weaker economic data released. A weaker yen likely drove the market's gains. Across the Korean strait, the Kospi ended down 0.2 percent, or 4.14 points, at 2,019.98. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down 1.06 percent in Asian afternoon trade. Mainland Chinese markets also slid after opening positive, the Shanghai composite closed down 0.23 percent, or 7.268 points, at 3,105.08, while the Shenzhen composite finished down 0.777 percent, or 16,071 points, at 2,052.016. In the previous session, U.S. stocks also closed in the red. Gold held steady on Friday amid an easing dollar and subdued Asian stocks, staying on course for a second straight weekly gain ahead of U.S. third-quarter GDP data expected later in the day. Spot gold was little changed at $1,268.05 an ounce at 0715 GMT. It was up about 0.2 percent for the week so far.