A flood of economic news will move the markets Friday, but don't expect too much since the Federal Reserve meets next week. The Dow is set to open flat to slightly higher.
Reports on retail sales, inflation and consumer sentiment will all hit U.S. investors Friday. All three reports will be closely scrutinized by Fed watchers. The Federal Reserve meets Tuesday, and another half-percentage point cut to interest rates is widely expected. The central bank's policy makers have cut rates four times so far this year, by a half point each time, in attempts to support the sagging economy.
Retail sales for April are expected to show a modest increase of a 0.2 percent from the prior month. That's an improvement from the 0.2 percent drop in March.
The producer price index for April is expected to show a small rise of 0.3 percent in inflation at the wholesale level -- although the jump could be greater than expected after the sharp spike in gasoline prices in recent weeks.
The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index will also come out Friday, and is expected to be 88.5, up slightly from 88.4 in April.
Stocks to Watch
Management also told analysts to expect revenue in fiscal 2002 to grow in the midteens on a percentage basis.
The jury had concluded in November 2000 that Altera's Flex 8000 chip products violated Xilinx patents known as "Freeman" and "Carter." U.S. District Judge James Ware of San Jose, who presided over the original trial, reversed the finding. Altera fell 60 cents to $26.05. Xilinx rose 11 cents to $43.41.
At the Bell
The Dow Jones industrial average may open 4 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index for June futures contracts was up 0.5 points to 1,261 at 7:15 a.m. EDT in 24-hour electronic trading.
Reuters contributed to this report.