U.S. stock-index futures are slightly higher on the Wall Street after in-line consumer price index data.
Mini Dow industrial average futures advanced 26.00 points to 13,198.00. The Nasdaq Futures gained 5.50 points to 2,717.25. Standard and Poor's 500 futures inched 2.30 points higher at 1,398.30.
On the economic front, consumer price index for the month of February rose 0.4%, in-line with expectations, and on a year-over-year basis, CPI increased 2.9%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. The gasoline index rose sharply in February, accounting for over 80% of the change in the all items index.
The food index, which rose 0.2% in January, was unchanged in February. The energy index rose 3.2% in February after a 0.2% increase in January. The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.1% in February after increasing 0.2% in January.
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The core CPI rose 0.1% that was lower than consensus expectations of 0.2%. Core CPI was up 2.2% from last year.
On Thursday, U.S. stocks ended on a positive note, with the S&P 500 index crossing 1,400 for the first time in around four years, buoyed by strong jobs and manufacturing data - an indication of an improving economy.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: (COGO, PWRD, SINA, STLD, CSC)
In corporate news, Cogo Group Inc. (NASDAQ:COGO) jumped 95.88 percent to in premarket, after the company's founder and CEO Jeffrey Kang has proposed to acquire a series of operating entities accounting for about 30% of Cogo's total assets, liabilities and revenue through his personal investment venture, Envision Global Group. The purchase price is expected to be between $60 million and $82 million, depending on the results of an assessment by an appraisal firm. The deal is expected to close during the second quarter 2012.
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Perfect World Co., Ltd. (NASDAQ:PWRD) surged 26.22 percent to $15.84 in premarket, after the company's fourth quarter results. Adjusted earnings were $0.94 per American Depository Share on revenue of $123.4 million. Looking ahead into the first quarter, the company expects revenue of 714 million Renminbi to 753 million Renminbi, representing a mild decline on a sequential basis.
SINA Corp. (NASDAQ:SINA) fell 3.53 percent to $71.50 in premarket. Media reports that Chinese microbloggers were required to register on the Weibo platform using their real identities or face unspecified legal consequences, in a bid to curb what Communist officials call rumours, vulgarities and pornography.
Steel Dynamics Inc. (NASDAQ:STLD) fell 1.43 percent to $14.51 in premarket, after it expects first quarter earnings of $0.15 to $0.20 per share, lower than Street's view $0.36 per share. The company expects earnings in the first quarter to be significantly below last year, amid unexpected margin compression as flat roll markets moderated more quickly than raw material input pricing.
Computer Sciences Corp. (NYSE:CSC) said Mike Lawrie will officially begin his post as president and chief executive officer on March 19. Lawrie, who has been a member of CSC's board of directors, succeeds Michael Laphen, who will retire as chairman, president and chief executive officer on March 19. Rodney Chase, a current director, will become non-executive chairman. David Barram, a current director, has been appointed by the board as chairman of the audit committee. Chase and Barram's appointments are effective March 19.
The European markets traded higher, with Germany's DAX up 0.48 percent to trade at 7,178.49. France's CAC40 edged 0.31 percent higher to 3,591.30. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.48 percent to 5,969.20.
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil was trading higher by 0.33 percent at $105.45 per barrel. Gold lost 0.98 percent to $1,643.30 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro gained 0.03 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.3076, while the British pound edged 0.13 percent lower against the greenback. The dollar gained 0.40 percent against the Japanese yen to 83.8750.