U.S. stock index futures signal further gains

Last Updated: Fri, Sep 14, 2012 18:34 hrs

PARIS, Sept 14 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Friday, after surging to multi-year highs on Thursday after the Federal Reserve announced an aggressive plan to stimulate the economy, encouraging investors to dive back into the market.

* Futures for the S&P 500 were up 0.21 percent, Dow Jones futures were up 0.22 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures 0.38 percent higher at 0830 GMT.

* Risk assets from shares to commodities rallied, the dollar fell to its lowest level since May and Italian bond yields slipped on Friday as investors reacted positively to the Federal Reserve's stimulus plan.

* Gold rose to a six-month high, extending the previous session's 2 percent gain, as the Fed's stimulus program could add to the risk of inflation and strengthen bullion's appeal.

* Home Depot Inc, the world's largest home improvement chain, will close all seven of its big box stores and cut 850 jobs in China as the retailer changes its focus in the Chinese market to online and specialty stores and becomes the latest retailer to feel the chill from China's slowing economy.

* Ford Motor Co's board of directors may name Chief Executive Alan Mulally as non-executive chairman to keep him involved with the second-largest U.S. automaker after he leaves the top post, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

* Western Digital Corp, the world's largest storage-drive maker, cut its current quarter revenue forecast as demand for hard disk drives (HDD) was muted, sending its shares down as much as 3 percent in after-hours trading.

* Bank of America Corp has agreed to settle U.S. Department of Justice civil accusations that it violated federal laws by discriminating against mortgage applicants on the basis of disability.

* Several private equity firms including Bain Capital are considering a buyout offer for retailer Staples Inc, Fortune reported on Thursday, citing unnamed sources.

* U.S. securities regulators do not plan to take any action stemming from an investigation into whether Avon Products Inc executives improperly shared information with analysts, Avon said on Thursday.

* Defence equipment maker Chemring said U.S. private equity firm Carlyle Group had been granted an extension to the "put up or shut up" deadline to make an offer for the British company.

* On the macro front, investors awaited a flurry of data, including the August consumer price index, due at 1230 GMT, August retail sales, due at 1230 GMT, as well as the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan September preliminary consumer sentiment index, due at 1355 GMT. Economists expect a reading of 74.0 compared with 74.3 in the final August report.

* The Dow Jones industrial average ended up 206.51 points, or 1.55 percent, to 13,539.86 on Thursday. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index closed up 23.43 points, or 1.63 percent, to 1,459.99. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 41.51 points, or 1.33 percent, to 3,155.83.

More from Sify: