Stock futures mostly higher on prospect of interest rates staying low

Should the Fed inflation announcement change how you invest?

Nuveen chief equity strategist Bob Doll shares his investing tips and provides insight into the Federal Reserve’s new inflation strategy.

U.S. equity futures are mostly higher on the final trading day of the week after the Federal Reserve said it might keep interest rates low even if inflation rises.

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The major futures indexes are suggesting an increase of 0.3% when trading begins on Wall Street.

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A slew of economic reports will be released on Friday.

The Commerce Department will report personal income and spending for July. Spending is expected to jump 1.5%, after a 5.6% rise in June. Income, meantime, is likely to slip 0.2% following June’s 1.1% slide. If you factor out volatile food and energy costs, core personal consumption expenditures are anticipated to pop 0.5% in July compared with June’s 0.2% rise.

The Institute for Supply Management is out with its Chicago Purchasing Managers’ index for August. The gauge of Midwest business activity is expected to tick higher to 52.0 from 51.9 in July. Note that 50 is the dividing line between expansion and contraction.

Finally, the University of Michigan’ will release its final index of consumer sentiment for August. Watch for it to remain unchanged from the preliminary reading of 72.8 two weeks ago:

FED TWEAKS STRATEGY IN NOD TO RECORD-LOW INTEREST RATES

Shares retreated in Japan, with the Nikkei index losing 1.4% on news that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe planned to announce he would step down due to a chronic health problem, according to his political party.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 1.5% and China's Shanghai Composite rose 1.5%.

In Europe, London's FTSE slipped 0.2%, Germany's DAX gained 0.1% and France's CAC declined 0.1%.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 ticked 0.2% higher, moving further into record territory and closing at 3,484.55.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 28492.27 +160.35 +0.57%
SP500 S&P 500 3484.55 +5.82 +0.17%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 11625.337331 -39.72 -0.34%

A report Thursday showed the pace of layoffs sweeping the U.S. remains incredibly high but may be slowing. A little more than 1 million American workers applied for unemployment benefits last week, down slightly from just over 1.1 million the week before.

In another report, the government also said that the economy looks like it shrank at an annual rate of 31.7% in the spring quarter. That came in better than the Commerce Department’s earlier estimate of 32.9%.

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In other trading Friday, benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 11 cents to $42.92 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 35 cents to settle at $43.04 per barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, the international standard, picked up 4 cents to $45.64 per barrel.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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