Stocks: Facebook IPO vs. Europe worries
NEW YORK — U.S. stocks were poised for a higher open Friday as investors set aside worries about Europe and turned their focus to Facebook's debut.
Dow Jones industrial average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were all 0.4% higher. Stock futures indicate the possible direction of the markets when they open at 9:30 a.m. ET.
Facebook, which priced its initial public offering at $38 a share after the closing bell Thursday, will start trading on the Nasdaq Friday. The offering raised $16 billion, making it the most valuable tech IPO in history.
"The market is going to trade off of Facebook today," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist Rockwell Global Capital. "I don't want to say it'll give us a relief rally. but it might give us a temporary boost, even if the market is still weak."
But for all the Facebook fun, there's still the matter of the European debt crisis looming over world markets. Asian stocks sold off sharply and European markets remained under pressure. At the same time, borrowing costs for Spanish and Greek debt also remain high.
Concerns are mounting about a potential Greek exit from the euro, and the implications that could have for other fiscally troubled nations such as Spain and Italy. Rating agency Moody's downgraded 16 Spanish banks on Thursday, including giants Banco Santander and BBVA, the latest sign of distress in Europe.
Greece, currently operating with a caretaker government, could leave the eurozone if anti-austerity parties triumph in elections next month.
A growing number of depositors are withdrawing their money from Greek banks amid worries that their savings could be converted to a devalued currency if Greece drops the euro. The rapid withdrawals are putting further strain on the country's struggling financial sector.
U.S. stocks closed lower Thursday. Investors fled stocks and made a rush toward the safety of U.S. Treasuries, sending the 10-year yield to a record low close.
Bonds: Worries about European sovereign debt continued to prompt a flight to quality by bond investors, lifting the price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury slightly. The yield eased to 1.70% from a record low close of 1.706% late Thursday. The 10-year hit an intraday record low of 1.671% on Sept. 23, 2011.
World markets: European stocks were mixed in afternoon trading, rallying from being down across the board earlier in the day. Britain's FTSE 100 slipped 0.5%, although that was well above earlier lows, while the DAX in Germany gained 0.3% and France's CAC 40 rose 0.5%.
But Asian markets ended sharply lower on worries about Europe, a major market for Asian exports. The Shanghai Composite lost 1.4% on the day, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong tumbled 1.3% and Japan's Nikkei plunged nearly 3%.
Companies: Apparel retailer Foot Locker reported better-than-expected earnings. Shares rose 1.4% in premarket trading.
Shares of Salesforce.com rose 6.6% after company reported better-than-expected earnings late Thursday.
Shares of clothing maker Gap rose 1.5% premarket on its better-than-expected earnings and a raised earnings outlook.
Shares of Chinese solar energy producers Yingli Green Energy, Trina Solar and Suntech Power fell sharply Thursday after the U.S. government announced new tariffs on Chinese solar panels. On the flip side, shares of U.S. panel makers First Solar rose 7% while SunPower gained 10%.
Currencies and commodities: The dollar was little changed against the euro, lower against the British pound and higher versus the Japanese yen.
Oil for June delivery edged up 24 cents to $92.80 a barrel.
Gold futures for June delivery rose $14.20 to $1,589.10 an ounce