US STOCKS-Futures up as stimulus worries recede; Japan data upbeat

Fri Jun 28, 2013 7:31am EDT
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* Blackberry slumps after results

* Molycorp climbs after SEC investigation

* Futures up: Dow 23 pts, S&P 2.6 pts, Nasdaq 3.5 pts

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, June 28 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures advanced on Friday, putting the S&P on track for its first four-day gain since early April, as concerns eased over a premature pullback of central bank stimulus measures and following upbeat economic data from Japan.

* The S&P 500 has risen 2.6 percent over the past three sessions as economic data and comments from U.S. Federal Reserve officials soothed worries over an earlier-than-expected reining in of stimulative bond purchases by the Fed.

* Japanese data showed consumer prices stopped falling in May and labor demand was at its strongest in five years, though the Bank of Japan's time frame for achieving a 2 percent inflation target still appeared unlikely.

* U.S. economic data expected on Friday includes the June index of manufacturing activity from the Institute for Supply Management Chicago at 9:45 a.m. EDT (1345 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a reading of 56.0, from 58.7 in May.

* Shortly after at 9:55 a.m. (1355 GMT), the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers final June consumer sentiment index is due. Economists surveyed by Reuters expect a reading of 82.8 compared with 82.7 in the preliminary June report.   Continued...