Stocks May See Further Upside After Yesterday’s Rally

Following the rally seen in the previous session, stocks could see some further upside in early trading on Friday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a slightly higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 16 points.

Early buying interest may be generated in reaction to the latest earnings news, including results from conglomerates General Electric (GE) and Honeywell (HON).

GE and Honeywell both reported better than expected first quarter results, with Honeywell also raising the low end of its full-year earnings guidance.

Visa (V) may also move to the upside after reporting fiscal second quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates. The credit card giant also announced a new $5.0 billion share repurchase program.

On the other hand, shares of Mattel (MAT) may come under pressure after the toymaker reported a wider than expected first quarter loss on revenues that came in below expectations.

Overall trading activity may be somewhat subdued, however, with traders looking ahead to the first round of voting in the French presidential election on Sunday.

Recent polls have suggested the race is too close to call amid questions about the impact of yesterday’s terrorist attack that left one French police officer dead and two other people wounded.

Shortly after the start of trading, the National Association of Realtors is scheduled to release its report on existing home sales in the month of March.

Existing home sales are expected to climb to an annual rate of 5.60 million in March after dropping to a rate of 5.48 million in February.

With traders reacting positively to the latest batch of corporate results, stocks moved significantly higher over the course of the trading session on Thursday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq reached a new record closing high, while the Dow bounced well off Wednesday’s two-month closing low.

The major averages ended the day firmly in positive territory but off their highs of the session. The Dow advanced 174.22 points or 0.9 percent to 20,578.71, the Nasdaq jumped 53.74 points or 0.9 percent to 5,916.78 and the S&P 500 climbed 17.67 points or 0.8 percent to 2,355.84.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index surged up by 1 percent, while Australia’s All Ordinaries Index rose by 0.5 percent. Chinese stocks closed roughly flat.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have turned mixed ahead of the French elections. While the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.1 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.1 percent and the German DAX Index is up by 0.4 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are edging down $0.04 to $50.67 a barrel after slipping $0.17 to $50.27 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, after inching up $0.40 to $1,283.80 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are rising $1.70 to $1,285.50 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 109.10 yen compared to the 109.32 yen it…

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