By Peter Nurse
Investing.com -- U.S. stocks are seen opening largely higher Friday in thin trading, closing out a generally upbeat holiday-shortened week on a positive note.
At 07:00 ET (12:00 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was up 60 points, or 0.2%, S&P 500 Futures traded 5 points, or 0.2%, higher, while Nasdaq 100 Futures dropped 15 points, or 0.1%.
The main stock indices were closed for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, and are set to finish early Friday.
That said, all three main averages are on course to register gains of over 1% over the course of the week after the minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting added to expectations that the central bank officials will agree to slowing the pace of monetary tightening in December.
U.S. stock futures suggest investors are positioning for the Fed to increase interest rates by 50 basis points next month, after four consecutive hikes of 75 basis points.
Helping the tone Friday was the news that China's central bank loosened monetary policy again, cutting the reserve requirement ratio for most banks by 25 basis points, on Friday, in an attempt to support its struggling economy.
The quarterly U.S. earnings calendar is understandably empty Friday. The traders that have made it to their desks are likely to focus on Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) after the Chinese market regulator stated Friday that the electric car manufacturer is recalling more than 80,000 China-made and imported cars produced from as early as 2013, for software and seat belt issues.
Crude oil prices climbed higher Friday, bouncing amid thin liquidity and helped by a weaker U.S. dollar, which makes the commodity cheaper for foreign buyers.
However, crude markets are still set to post a third consecutive losing week as China reported a new daily record for COVID-19 infections on Friday, with a number of cities continuing to enforce strict mobility measures to control outbreaks.
European Union and G7 officials are also having difficulty agreeing on a price cap on Russian seaborne oil, with the reported level of $65-$70 a barrel seen as being too high by some to seriously hit the revenue Moscow receives as Russia continues its military offensive in Ukraine.
By 07:00 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 2.4% higher at $79.78 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 1.7% to $86.75. There was no WTI settlement on Thursday due to the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.
Additionally, gold futures rose 0.4% to $1,751.95/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.0400.