(By Balachander) U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a sharply higher opening on the Wall Street, buoyed by an upbeat data from Germany and strong results and guidance from Hewlett-Packard Co.
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures climbed 72 points to 13,944. The Nasdaq futures rose 14.75 points to 2,728.75. Standard and Poor's 500 futures added 7.90 points to 1,509.
There are no major U.S. economic data scheduled for the day.
German business confidence increased more than forecast and reached a 10-month high in February, a data showed. The headline business climate index rose to 107.4 from a revised 104.3 last month, the Ifo Institute reported. Economists expected a reading of 104.9.
Italy goes to polls on Sunday amid concern a new government will jeopardize the nation's austerity program.
On Thursday, U.S. stocks closed in red as investors digested a mixed set of economic data and continued to weigh minutes from last month's Federal Reserve policy meeting that showed policy makers differed over the stimulus program.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: HP, TXN, AIG, WCRX, NDSN, MRVL, ANF, FSLR
Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) jumped 5.25 percent in premarket after the world's largest seller of personal computers, posted better-than-expected earnings and revenue for the first quarter and offered an upbeat forecast.
American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG) added 3.94 percent in premarket after the insurer reported better-than-expected quarterly numbers.
Texas Instruments Inc. (NASDAQ: TXN) rose 2.52 percent in premarket after the semiconductor maker boosted its quarterly dividend by 33 percent to 28 cents a share, and raised its share buyback authorization by $5 billion.
Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (NASDAQ: MRVL) jumped 5.91 percent in premarket after the chip maker posted quarterly earnings that topped market expectations.
Nordson Corp. (NASDAQ: NDSN) fell 4.43 percent in premarket after the maker of adhesive dispensing systems issued second-quarter earnings forecast that trailed Wall Street expectations.
Warner Chilcott Plc (NASDAQ: WCRX), the women healthcare company, posted a 38 percent increase in net income for the fourth quarter amid lower revenue of its postmenopausal osteoporosis treatement. Results topped market expectations.
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) fell 3.57 percent in premarket after the specialty retailer posted an increase in quarterly earnings as sales and margins rose. Earnings topped Wall Street expectations, while top-line was slightly below consensus.
First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) may be in focus after Pacific Crest downgraded shares of the maker of solar modules to "Underperform" from "Sector Perform".
European markets traded in green, with Germany's DAX up 0.97 percent to trade at 7,660.30. France's CAC40 climbed 1.92 percent to trade at 3,694.31. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.67 percent to trade at 6,333.90.
Asian markets ended mixed. The Shanghai Composite Index retreated 0.51 percent to end at $2,314.16. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.68 percent to end at 11,385.94. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.54 percent to close at 22,782.44. India's Sensex closed at 19,317.01, down 0.04 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures traded 0.29 percent higher at $93.11 per barrel. Gold futures inched 0.02 percent higher to $1,578.70 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro gained 0.03 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.3194, and the British pound rose 0.26 percent to 1.5293. The dollar advanced 0.21 percent against the Japanese yen at 93.3100.