(By Balachander) U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher opening on the Wall Street as data confirmed the world's largest economy expanded at a slower pace, reinforcing hopes of additional monetary stimulus.
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures added 32 points to 12,857. The Nasdaq Futures rose 13.75 points to 2,586.25. Standard and Poor's 500 futures gained 5.90 points to 1,360.70.
A report from the U.S. Commerce Department showed that the gross domestic product grew at a 1.5 percent annual pace in the second quarter, slowing from a revised 2.0 percent growth in the first quarter.
At 9.55 am ET, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan will release a report on the final index of consumer sentiment for July, with expectations of a reading of 72.
On Thursday, U.S. stocks closed sharply higher following comments by the European Central Bank President Mario Draghi regarding the euro. Investors also weighed a slew of corporate earnings reports and some upbeat domestic economic readings.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: AMZN, FB, MRK,SBUX, ACI, EXPE, AMGN
In corporate news, Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) posted quarterly earnings and sales that trailed market expectations as expenses jumped, and the online retail giant guided third-quarter below consensus. Its sales soared 29 percent in the second quarter. Shares inched higher in premarket.
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) tumbled 14.10 percent in premarket after the social networking giant posted a quarter loss, its first results as a public company, amid concerns of slowing growth.
Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE:MRK) rose 1.92 percent in premarket after the health care giant posted quarterly earnings that topped market expectations, spurred by double-digits sales growth of some of its top drugs and improvement in margins.
Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ:SBUX) plunged 9.95 percent in premarket after the coffee retailer reported lower-than-expected quarterly earnings due to high commodity costs and economic headwinds. Further, the company reduced its fourth-quarter earnings forecast.
Arch Coal Inc. (NYSE:ACI) jumped 15.21 percent in premarket after the coal producer reported results for the second quarter that came in better than forecast. The coal producer slipped to a quarterly loss, hurt by mine closure costs and impairment charges amid soft market conditions. Revenue rose 8 percent to $1.06 billion, topping consensus estimate of a 1.30 percent gain.
Expedia Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPE) surged 15.80 percent in premarket after the Bellevue, Washington-based online travel company raised its 2012 forecast following upbeat second quarter results.
Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) rose 3.41 percent after the drug maker boosted its 2012 earnings and revenue guidance following strong second-quarter results.
European markets traded higher, with Germany's DAX advancing 0.32 percent to trade at 6,604.09. France's CAC40 traded 1.19 percent higher at 3,245.23. U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.14 percent to trade at 5,580.92.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index inched up 0.13 percent to finish at 2,128.76. Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 1.46 percent to end at 8,566.64. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rallied 2.02 percent to end at 19,274.96. India's BSE Sensex finished at 16,839.19, up 1.20 percent.
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures added 0.35 percent to $89.700 per barrel. Gold futures rose 0.34 percent to $1,625.3 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro traded 0.01 percent lower against the U.S. dollar at 1.2282 while the British pound gained 0.13 percent against the greenback to 1.5706. The dollar rose 0.20 percent against the Japanese yen to 78.3800.