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Wall Street Set to Rise With All Eyes On Currencies
2010-10-22 15:11:16
By Rodrigo Campos Rodrigo Campos
29 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stock indexes were set to rise at the open on Friday as a Group of 20 nations meeting that sought a common path to manage global trade, currency and macroeconomic imbalances kept investors skittish and markets choppy.

S&P 500 futures sent a bullish signal as the index’s 50-day moving average crossed above its 200-day moving average, a technical event known as a golden cross. That upward momentum indicator last occurred in June 2009, and futures rose about 35 percent in the following 10 months.

“The G20 is the main story and everyone is following currencies,” said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co in New York.

“Currencies are single-handedly moving markets around — outside earnings.”

S&P 500 futures rose 5 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 36 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 11.5 points.

Boosting Nasdaq futures, SanDisk Corp (SNDK.O) gained 4 percent and Baidu Inc (BIDU.O) gained 4.6 percent in premarket trading a day after both companies posted results.

The U.S. dollar zigzagged against a basket of currencies (.DXY) on wariness over what, if any, deal would be reached at the G20 rich and emerging nations meeting in South Korea. The euro rose but also traded choppily against the greenback.

Equity markets have traded of late in tandem with the euro, with S&P futures rising along with Europe’s single currency.

Schlumberger Ltd (SLB.N), the world’s largest oilfield services provider, reported a jump in quarterly profit and its shares rose 2 percent in premarket trading.

Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) and diversified manufacturer Honeywell International Inc (HON.N) dipped after posting results.

AIA, the Asian life insurance arm of American International Group Inc (AIG.N), is set to raise $17.9 billion after pricing its Hong Kong initial public offering at the top of its expected range. AIG shares rose 1.7 percent premarket.

Two top U.S. Federal Reserve officials gave competing views on the need for more stimulus for the economy, continuing a public debate over further monetary easing, even though the Fed’s core view appears to favor such a move.

Growing speculation in recent weeks that the Fed will extend the quantitative easing measures at its next meeting in November has pressured the dollar while boosting equities, but uncertainty over the extent of the stimulus has caused some market volatility.

Wall Street edged higher in a choppy session on Thursday, buoyed by robust earnings, but a firmer U.S. dollar limited gains.

(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)