* U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly lower open for
equities on Wall Street on Friday, with futures for the S&P 500
, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq 100 falling
up to 0.2 percent.
* The U.S. Labor Department releases its February employment
report at 1330 GMT. Economists forecast 210,000 jobs were
created during the month, compared with 243,0000 new jobs in
January. The unemployment rate is seen at 8.3 percent, a repeat
of the January rate.
* The U.S. Commerce Department releases at 1330 GMT its
January International Trade report. Economists expect a trade
deficit of $49.0 billion in January, versus a deficit of $48.80
billion in December.
* The Commerce Department also releases wholesale
inventories for January, due at 1500 GMT, with economists
forecasting a rise of 0.6 percent, versus a gain of 1.0 percent
* Carnival Corp , the world's biggest cruise
operator, releases its first-quarter earnings. In January the
Miami-based company said the Costa Concordia cruise ship
catastrophe would wipe up to $175 million from its profit this
* General Motors and Italian carmaker Fiat
talked briefly about merging their European businesses earlier
this year, the Wall Street Journal said on Friday, citing people
familiar with the matter.
* The U.S. Justice Department has warned Apple and
five major U.S. publishers that it plans to sue them, accusing
them of colluding to raise the prices of electronic books, a
person familiar with the probe said on Thursday.
* Exxon Mobil Corp said its 2012 oil and natural gas
output would drop 3 percent from last year even as it increases
spending to bring several large new projects on line, and its
shares fell 1.2 percent.
* A South African court on Friday largely dismissed an
appeal from government and unions to roll back approval for
Wal-Mart's $2.4 billion acquisition of Massmart
, ending months of speculation about the future of the
* Shares in Texas Instruments Inc were down 2.3
percent after the bell on Thursday after the company presented
its first-quarter outlook. Aeropostale Inc was down 2.4
percent after the release of its results.
* China's annual consumer inflation slowed sharply to a
20-month low in February, and factory output and retail sales
also cooled more than forecast, giving policymakers ample room
to further loosen monetary policy to support flagging growth.
* European stocks rose slightly in early trade,
climbing for a third day in a row, after Greece's private
creditors accepted its bond swap offer.
* Greece claimed a major success for its bond swap offer to
private creditors on Friday after it won heavy acceptance for a
deal that averts the immediate risk of an uncontrolled default
on its massive public debt. European leaders will take the final
decision on the second bailout package for Greece in a
teleconference later on Friday.
* The Dow Jones industrial average gained 70.61
points, or 0.55 percent, to 12,907.94 at the close on Thursday.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 13.28 points, or
0.98 percent, to 1,365.91. The Nasdaq Composite Index
advanced 34.73 points, or 1.18 percent, to close at 2,970.42.