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U.S. futures steady ahead of trade data; Dow Jones down 0.06%

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Shutterstock photo - U.S. stock futures pointed to steady open on Friday, as investors awaited the release of U.S. trade balance data, while renewed optimism over the handling of the debt crisis in the euro zone continued to mildly support.

Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.06% fall, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.01% dip, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.04% gain.

Sentiment strengthened after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Thursday that a gradual economic recovery would begin this year, as structural reforms and actions by the ECB to tackle the region's debt crisis continued to take effect.

Earlier Friday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unveiled a JPY10.3 trillion stimulus package to end deflation and boost growth.

According to the Cabinet Office, about JPY3.8 trillion will go to disaster prevention and reconstruction, with JPY3.1 trillion directed to stimulating private investment and other measures.

Retail-related stocks were expected to be active, after tycoon Carlos Slim's retail unit said it plans to relist on the Mexican stock exchange, offering a 15.2% stake to raise around USD720 million to fund expansion plans.

Separately, Supervalu struck a USD3.3 billion deal to reduce its burdensome debt by selling five of its supermarket chains to an investor group led by Cerberus Capital Management.

Commodity-linked stocks were also likely to be in focus, as Exxon Mobil reported flaring at its 344,500 barrel-per-day Beaumont, Texas, refinery.

Elsewhere, credit card company American Express dropped 0.46% in pre-market trade after saying it would cut about 5,400 jobs, or 8.5% of its workforce, as it restructures its business and pays legal bills.

Aircraft company Boeing was also slated to be in focus, after a 787 Dreamliner jet suffered a cracked cockpit window and an oil leak on separate flights in Japan on Friday. The news sent shares in the company down 0.78% after hours.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were mixed to higher. The EURO STOXX 50 inched up 0.05%, France's CAC 40 fell 0.29%, Germany's DAX added 0.09%, while Britain's FTSE 100 edged 0.12% higher.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 0.39%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index jumped 1.4%.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to release the government's report on the trade balance. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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