Futures Explode, S&P Heads for Winning Week

U.S. stock index futures were higher on Friday as better-than-expected third-quarter earnings reports send the S&P 500 to a winning week.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrials hiked 161 points, or 0.5%, to 34,945.

Futures for the S&P 500 added 17.25 points, or 0.4%, to 4,446.25.

Futures for the NASDAQ Composite Index gained 50.75 points, or 0.3%, to 15,088.

The S&P 500 posted its best day since March as major earnings topped expectations. Goldman Sachs, J.B. Hunt and PNC Financial are among the names that will report quarterly results on Friday.

During regular trading the S&P 500 advanced 1.71%, registering its best day since March 5. The Dow gained 1.55%, snapping a four-day losing streak. The 30-stock benchmark had its best day since July 20. The NASDAQ Composite gained 1.73% for its best day since May. All three averages are on track to end the week in the green.

The gains come amid a strong start to earnings season. Eight members of the S&P 500 posted quarterly results on Thursday morning, with each one topping Wall Street’s expectations. Financial heavyweights Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup were among the names that reported.

On the economic data front, retail sales numbers will be released Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET, while the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment reading will be revealed at 10 a.m. ET.

Retail sales are expected to slide 0.2% for September from the prior month, according to economists polled by Dow Jones.

Overseas, in Japan, the Nikkei 225 jumped 1.8% Friday, while in Hong Kong, markets returned from holiday, with the Hang Seng barreling ahead 1.5%.

Oil prices surged 85 cents to $2.16 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices sank $19.40 to $1,778.50 U.S. an ounce.