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Investors were hoping for another day of gains, with U.S. stock futures edging higher ahead of Friday's opening bell on the back of relatively decent earnings.
Investors remain nervous about the economy and inflation. The Fed has been pretty clear that interest rates aren't likely to budge this year. Meanwhile, gold and silver continue to hit new highs as the U.S. dollar keeps sliding, falling to a three-year low against the euro.
On Thursday, U.S. stocks rose to multi-year highs, as investors looked beyond a series of mixed earnings reports and disappointing GDP and jobless claims reports.
Ahead of Friday's opening bell, Dow components Caterpillar (CAT) and Merck (MRK) reported better-than-expected earnings.
Merck's quarterly profit tripled, on strong drug sales, while Caterpillar benefited from strong demand for bulldozers and other machinery. Shares of Merck edged up 1.5%, while Caterpillar's stock rose nearly 3%.
Chevron (CVX) is also slated to deliver quarterly results before the bell. Analysts forecast Chevron will post a profit of $3 per share.
Companies: Late Thursday, Microsoft reported a 31% surge in quarterly profit, on strong Office and Kinect sales. But not all the news was good, as netbook sales fell 40%.
Microsoft's (MSFT) stock slipped 1% in premarket trading.
Research in Motion on Thursday cut its forecast for the current quarter, citing sluggish Blackberry sales. RIM's (RIMM) stock price fell nearly 12% in premarket trading.
Oil for June delivery were flat at $112.86 a barrel.
The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury slipped, pushing up the yield slightly to 3.32%.
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