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Pre-Market: US Personal Income, Consumer Spending Rise; BlackBerry Reports Smaller-Than-Expected Loss


Walmart lawsuit seeks $5 billion from Visa.

Stock futures pointed toward a higher open on Friday, led by BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY).

The beleaguered mobile phone-maker posted a significantly smaller-than-expected quarterly loss of $0.08 per a share in the fourth quarter. Analysts had expected a $0.55 loss per share. However revenue missed forecasts, coming in at $976 million, marking an 18% drop from Q3 and a 64% drop from the year prior. Shares of BlackBerry were up 7.07% in pre-market trading. 

Before the opening bell, Dow Jones (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures rose 0.22% to 16,217. Futures on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) were up 0.30% to 1,846.20. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures moved higher, rising 0.39% to 3,568.25.

Both US personal income and disposable personal income rose 0.3% to $47.7 billion and $42.3 billion, respectively, in February. Personal consumption also rose by 0.3%. The Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index arrives at 9:55 a.m. Kansas City Federal Reserve President Esther L. George will give her economic outlook at 1:15 p.m. The USDA will release its end-of-the-month index of prices at 3:00 p.m., finishing out the week's economic calendar.

Asia's regional benchmark, the MSCI Asia Pacific, posted its biggest weekly gain in nearly a year as stocks advanced overnight. Shares in China gained after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the country has backup policies to deal with economic volatility, although the difficulties of a slowdown can't be ignored. In Europe, stocks rose on increased euro-area consumer confidence, which beat analyst forecasts after coming in at 102.4 in March. Consumer confidence in England (which is not a member of the eurozone) posted gains as well.

In a speech given in Hong Kong, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said he expects the US will keep interest rates near zero until late 2015. This follows Janet Yellen's comments that rates could rise in mid-2015.

In other earnings news, mall-based retailer The Finish Line (NASDAQ:FINL) reported strong fourth-quarter results with a 17.2% increase in net sales and a 26.1% increase in EPS. For fiscal year 2014, the company saw an 11.6% increase in EPS. Shares were trading up 0.83% before the opening bell.

Walmart (NYSE:WMT) is seeking $5 billion in compensation from Visa (NYSE:V) in a lawsuit accusing the credit card company of setting excessive swipe fees. Walmart, along with other retailers including Target (NYSE:TGT), rejected a $5.7 billion swipe-fee settlement from Visa and Mastercard (NYSE:MA) made in 2013. Shares of Visa were down 0.82% in pre-market trading. 

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has denied a Wall Street Journal report that says it's planning to release a free video-streaming service. As described by the Journal, the ad-supported video service would be focused on TV shows and music videos, and would challenge current leaders in the streaming-video space like Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Hulu. Pre-market shares of Amazon rose 1% before the Friday's open.

Two automakers are expanding operations in the US. Ford (NYSE:F) is investing $500 million and creating 300 new jobs to upgrade an Ohio engine plant to make new engines for its best-selling F-150 pickup trucks. Meanwhile, German automaker BMW is expected to unveil a major expansion in South Carolina for what's speculated to be a plant for its new luxury X7 sports activity vehicle. The expansion is expect to bring a $1 billion investment and add a third plant to BMW's existing site in the state. Shares of Ford moved higher in pre-market trading, up 0.26%.

Twitter: @brokawbrokaw
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