Stocks: 4 things to know before the open

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Stocks are poised for more gains Friday after a huge recovery this week that could put the main U.S. indexes on course for a positive month.

Despite going on a tear over the last two days, the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq are still in negative territory for December after the oil price crash and Russia's ruble crisis shocked markets.

Here are the four things you need to know before the opening bell rings in New York:

1. Back in the black?: U.S. stock futures are edging higher, with traders feeling an afterglow from Wednesday when the Federal Reserve indicated it would take its time before hiking interest rates.

The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq have each posted gains of roughly 4% over the past two trading days. On Thursday alone, the Dow gained 421 points -- its best performance since 2011.

2. Oil and ruble steady: The falling price of oil and the economic crisis in Russia were two factors that spooked markets this month.

U.S. crude oil futures were edging higher to trade around $55 per barrel. Russian markets were calmer. The ruble was slightly firmer against the dollar, after plunging 45% so far this year.

3. International markets overview: Most European markets are rising in early trading, while all the Asian markets closed with healthy gains.

The Nikkei in Japan and the key index in Australia rallied by 2.4%, taking their cue from the U.S.

The Bank of Japan announced it was keeping monetary policy steady following October's surprise decision to ramp up its stimulus program.

4. Potential market movers: BlackBerry (BBRY) and Carnival (CCL) shares could be on the move Friday as both are set to report earnings before the opening bell.

Shares in Xerox (XRX) were rising by about 3% premarket after the firm said it was selling its IT outsourcing business for just over $1 billion.

Shares in Nike (NKE) were dipping lower premarket after the company forecast weaker-than-expected demand over the next few months.

Alibaba (BABA) shares may be on the move as some inside investors are now allowed to start paring back on their holdings. After the massive Alibaba market debut in September, many early investors were barred from selling their shares. But that restriction lifts today.

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