* Blackberry slumps after results
* Molycorp climbs after SEC investigation
* Accenture tumbles after earnings, outlook
* Futures up: Dow 33 pts, S&P 4.5 pts, Nasdaq 7.25 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, June 28 U.S. stock index futures
advanced on Friday, putting the S&P on track for its first
four-day gain since early April, as concerns eased over a
premature pullback of central bank stimulus measures and
following upbeat economic data from Japan.
The S&P 500 has risen 2.6 percent over the past three
sessions as economic data and comments from U.S. Federal Reserve
officials soothed worries over an earlier-than-expected reining
in of stimulative bond purchases by the Fed.
The benchmark S&P index had slumped as much as 4.8 percent
in the days following a June 19 statement from the U.S. Federal
Reserve, when Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed could start
slowing its stimulative bond purchases later this year if growth
was strong enough.
"When you have dramatic selloffs like we had, so quickly and
so far, that just doesn't happen in the U.S. equity markets
without some sort of bounce back," said Keith Bliss, senior vice
president at Cuttone & Co in New York.
"The market was set up to move higher based on quantitative
and technical work, and then you've got all these Fed officials
talking - they just basically put gas on the fire."
Japanese data showed consumer prices stopped falling in May
and labor demand was at its strongest in five years, though the
Bank of Japan's time frame for achieving a 2 percent inflation
target still appeared unlikely.
U.S. economic data expected on Friday includes the June
index of manufacturing activity from the Institute for Supply
Management Chicago at 9:45 a.m. EDT (1345 GMT). Economists in a
Reuters survey forecast a reading of 56.0, from 58.7 in May.
Shortly after at 9:55 a.m. (1355 GMT), the Thomson
Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers final June
consumer sentiment index is due. Economists polled by Reuters
expect a reading of 82.8 compared with 82.7 in the preliminary
The recent rally for the S&P 500 marks its best three-day
performance since early January. The index is currently up 2.8
percent for the quarter and 13.1 percent for the year, though it
is on track for its first monthly loss since October.
S&P 500 futures rose 4.5 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 gained 33
points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 7.25 points.
Investors can expect a surge of volume at the close Friday
when Russell Investments is due to set the final update for the
annual reconstitution of its indexes.
U.S.-listed shares of Research in Motion plunged
20.7 percent to $11.48 in premarket trading after the BlackBerry
maker reported a fiscal first-quarter loss and forecast a loss
in the current quarter.
Molycorp Inc jumped 11.1 percent to $6.23 in
premarket after the rare earths producer said the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission has completed an
investigation against the company and has not recommended any
Accenture PLC tumbled 8 percent to $73.80 in
premarket after the outsourcing and consulting services provider
cut its full-year outlook, and reported third-quarter revenue
below analysts' estimates.
Arch Coal Inc rose 12.2 percent to $4.04 before the
opening bell after the company agreed to sell its Canyon Fuel
subsidiary for $435 million in cash.
European shares fell, hitting the buffers as technical
resistance around the 1,156 level stalled momentum. Trade was
subdued, as investors avoided making large bets at the end of a
Asian shares rose for a third day, led by Tokyo's Nikkei
index, to end the first half of the year up a barnstorming 31.5