US STOCKS-Futures edge higher on hopes for China stimulus

Fri Mar 28, 2014 7:29am EDT
 
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* Nasdaq on track for biggest weekly fall since 2012

* Momentum stocks still in focus, pullback may not be done

* Red Hat profit beats expectations, but outlook weak

* Futures up: Dow 42 pts, S&P 5 pts, Nasdaq 14.25 pts

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, March 28 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Friday, lifted by remarks from China's Premier Li Keqiang that the Chinese government was ready to take steps to support its economy.

* Despite the gain implied by futures, major indexes are on track for a negative week, with the Nasdaq set for its biggest weekly decline since 2012 as investors sharply took profit in high-growth names. Trading has been volatile throughout the week, with sentiment largely driven by geopolitical uncertainty. The S&P 500 turned nearly flat for the year on Thursday.

* The prospect of slowing growth in China, the world's second-largest economy, has long been a market headwind. Recent economic data has pointed to the weakest growth there since the global financial crisis, raising hopes that Beijing would step in with support.

* Keqiang said the government had the necessary policies in place and would push ahead with infrastructure investment. "We cannot neglect the increasing downward pressure and difficulties," he said in a speech on Wednesday that was reported by the Xinhua news agency early on Friday.   Continued...