Stocks headed for rosy start

Futures advance as global markets rally. Investors await reading on consumer sentiment.

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By CNNMoney.com staff

NEW YORK(CNNMoney.com) -- U.S. stocks were poised to track world markets and open higher Friday, with investors focusing their attention on the health of the consumer.

At 7:25 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average, Nasdaq 100 and Standard & Poor's 500 futures were higher.

Futures measure current index values against their perceived future performance and offer an indication of how markets may open when trading begins.

The stock market barely eked out gains on Thursday, but it managed to hold onto the 2009 highs achieved in the Wednesday session.

Going forward, Lakshman Achuthan, managing director of the Economic Cycle Research Institute, said he expects the market to continue its "pronounced upturn."

"The market is likely to be supported by economic fundamentals," said Achuthan. "I don't see any downturn in economic activity. I'm rejecting the double dip fear."

Economy: On tap for Friday is a report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis on personal income and spending that will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. Personal income is expected to have edged up 0.1% in July, according to a consensus of economist opinion from Briefing.com. That's compared to a decrease of 1.3% the prior month.

Personal spending is expected to have risen 0.2% in July, according to Briefing.com consensus, which would be a slow-down from an increase of 0.4% the prior month.

Additionally, the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index comes out at 9:55 a.m. ET.

Companies: Stocks to watch include Dell (DELL, Fortune 500), which reported quarterly results that topped Wall Street's estimates after U.S. markets closed Thursday. The PC maker also issued an upbeat forecast for sales in the second half of the year.

Retailer J. Crew (JCG) also could be on the move after the company posted better-than-expected quarterly results.

World markets: Global stock indexes were on the upswing, buoyed by recovery hopes. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei added 0.6%. European markets rallied in morning trading.

Money and oil: The dollar slipped against the euro and the British pound, but rose versus the yen. The price of oil rose 71 cents to $73.20.

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