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[September 21, 2007]  NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stock futures pointed toward a higher opening Friday as Wall Street, looking to resume this week's rally, drew confidence from strong earnings from Oracle Corp.

After the market closed Thursday, the software maker reported a 25 percent jump in quarterly profit and said its software sales accelerated at the fastest pace in seven years. Nike Inc. also cheered investors late Thursday, when the athletic shoe and clothing company said its quarterly profit rose by 51 percent.

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The pair of earnings reports served as a positive sign that despite the recent market turmoil and apparent slowdown in consumer spending, many companies are still thriving.

Some mixed earnings reports, along with a weak dollar and record-high oil prices, contributed to a dip Thursday in the stock market. But Wall Street is trading more optimistically this week than it has in a while, since the Federal Reserve's half-point interest rate cut Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrial average is now 1.7 percent below its record close of 14,000.41 reached in mid-July.

Dow futures expiring in December rose 69, or 0.50 percent, to 13,924. S&P 500 index futures rose 8.90, or 0.58 percent, to 1,540.70, and Nasdaq 100 Index futures rose 12.50, or 0.61 percent, to 2,070.25.

There are no major economic reports scheduled to be released Friday. Instead, Wall Street will focus on corporate news and speeches by Fed officials, including Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn, Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser and Fed Governor Kevin Warsh.

A speech in Germany Friday by Fed Governor Frederic Mishkin offered little in terms of clues to the Fed's next move.

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Crude oil futures for November pulled back by 12 cents to $81.66 a barrel in premarket trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Thursday, the October contract, now expired, closed at an all-time high above $83 a barrel.

Gold prices rose, and the dollar bounced back against the after hitting another record low against the euro. The dollar fell, though, against the pound and the yen.

In European trading, Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.82 percent, Germany's DAX index rose 0.83 percent, and France's CAC-40 rose 0.33 percent.

In Asia earlier, Japan's Nikkei index fell 0.62 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.56 percent.


On the Net:

New York Stock Exchange: http://www.nyse.com/ 

Nasdaq Stock Market: http://www.nasdaq.com/

[Associated Press; by Madlen Read]

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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