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U.S. Stocks Head for Higher Open

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[March 28, 2008]  NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks moved toward a higher open Friday as investors awaited a reading on February personal incomes and spending -- figures that could reveal whether consumers are pulling back because of concerns about the economy.

The Commerce Department is expected to release data that is weak, with spending edging up 0.1 percent, incomes rising by 0.3 percent and the core personal consumption expenditures deflator, a key measure of inflation, up 0.1 percent.

After the start of trading, investors are also expecting the latest Reuters/University of Michigan report on consumer sentiment for March. While consumers have clearly been nervous for months, investors are interested in how that might affect spending decisions; consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.

Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 55, or 0.45 percent, to 12,376. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures rose 8.30, or 0.62 percent, to 1,338.10, and the Nasdaq 100 index futures rose 11.75, or 0.66 percent, to 1,803.75.

Stocks declined for a second day Thursday, with the Dow falling 120 points, as investors found little reason to continue a big rally that started the week; a government report confirmed a big economic slowdown in the fourth quarter.

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Bond prices fell. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, rose to 3.54 percent from 3.52 percent late Thursday. The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices fell.

Light, sweet crude fell 41 cents to $107.17 in premarket electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average rose 1.71 percent. In morning trading, Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.16 percent, Germany's DAX index advanced 0.21 percent, and France's CAC-40 slipped 0.16 percent.


On the Net:

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

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

[Associated Press; By TIM PARADIS]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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