Market Snapshot: S&P looks set for push into record territory

U.S. stock futures pointed to another day of gains for Wall Street on Friday, with the S&P poised to march further into record territory, as investors wait for fresh manufacturing data.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMM5, +0.09%  added 24 points, or 0.1%, to 18,226, indicating the blue-chip benchmark could inch further toward an all-time closing high. On Thursday, it ended just 0.2% shy of its record close of 18,288.63, hit March 2.

The S&P 500 index SPX, +1.08%  managed to ring up a new closing high on Thursday, and Friday looked set to be an upbeat trading day, too. Futures for the index ESM5, +0.09%  traded 2.65 points higher, or 0.1%, at 2,119.

Futures for the Nasdaq 100 index NQM5, +0.20%  climbed about 10 points, or 0.2%, to 4,500.50, after closing 1.4% higher on Thursday.

Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA, said the moves on Friday reflected “calmness that has returned to the bond markets” after a volatile week in fixed-income trading.

“Bond markets now appear to have stabilized, and if anything, they’re paring some of the losses, which is helping overall sentiment,” he said. “The perception that the Fed will be forced to hold off on its first rate hike a little longer following those weak retail-sales figures on Wednesday is also supporting equity markets.”

U.S. stocks have been weaving in and out of losses this week, as investors digested the battered bond markets and a string of mixed data that raised questions about the strength of the U.S. economy. This has spurred speculation the Federal Reserve will wait to raise interest rates until later this year, rather than in June, which some market participants had been forecasting.

Former Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn said the debate over rate-hike timing is focused on a move between September and December.

Data: Economic data out on Friday will be closely watched with its implications for the Fed in view. At 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, the Empire State manufacturing index is due, forecast to improve to 5.5 in May from negative 1.2 in April.

At 9:15 a.m. Eastern, industrial production and capacity utilization — both for April — are scheduled for release. The University of Michigan reading on consumer sentiment comes out at 10 a.m. Eastern, and is predicted to show a pullback in May from 95.9 in April.

Watch commodity-price gains as dollar rises

Investors are pouring into the euro, oil and commodities as the U.S. dollar rises. WSJ’s Ira Iosebashvili reports on MoneyBeat.

“Gasoline prices have risen in recent weeks, while equity-market volatility has picked up as stock prices have declined. Both factors suggest that sentiment may slip in May from the strong April reading,” analysts at Barclays said in a note.

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