U.S. stock futures were clearly pointing to early gains Friday after a modest pullback during the previous session.
Japan's Nikkei ended the session with a near 3% gain as the Japanese yen fell to a four-year low against the U.S. dollar. Investors continue to welcome moves by the Bank of Japan to boost the nation's economy.
"The Bank of Japan is moving the markets, not only in the Far East, but here as well, extending to U.S. futures," said David Madden, market analyst at IG Markets in London, referring to the BOJ'S aggressive campaign against deflation. "This is another example of central bank intervention, which is propping things up."
Madden said that investors will be watching Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke closely Friday for talk about stimulus as he delivers a speech in Chicago at 9:30 a.m. ET.
Aside from that, there are few major corporate or economic reports scheduled for release to drive stocks. Madden described investor sentiment as "cautiously optimistic."
"Nobody wants to buy at the top, but given how anxiously central banks will push things, nobody's willing to take money off the table at the same time," he said. "Nobody's willing to get off the gravy train too soon."
U.S. stocks closed mostly lower Thursday, but are still trading around all-time highs. All three major indexes are up between 13% and 15% since the start of the year.
Meanwhile, Dell (Fortune 500) edged up in premarket trading after investor Carl Icahn and Southeastern Asset Management sent an alternative buyout offer to the PC maker. Icahn also disclosed a 4.52% stake in Dell. ,
Priceline ( shares fell after the online travel booker issued a worse-than-expected forecast for second-quarter earnings. )
Gap (Fortune 500) shares rose nearly 5% after the apparel retailer issued strong quarterly guidance. ,
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