US futures head higher for fourth consecutive day

US futures set up S&P index for biggest first half since 2008; Japan posts promising numbers

Associated Press
US stocks fall in quiet end to a bumpy month

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FILE - In this Tuesday, May 28, 2013, file photo, specialist Jason Hardzewicz, left, works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. World stock markets were boosted Friday June 28, 2013 by encouraging indicators from Japan and further proof that the U.S. economy is on the upswing. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stock futures are rising for a fourth consecutive day, capping the biggest rally for S&P 500 index since January, thanks to a healthy dose of favorable economic news.

The S&P is now up 13 percent for the year, which makes it the best first half for the index since 2008.

Dow Jones industrial futures are up 23 points to 14,959. S&P futures have added 2.6 points to 1,609.20. Nasdaq futures are up 3.5 points to 2,903.

U.S. futures followed Asian markets higher Friday after a closely watched consumer price index in Japan, which has battled deflation for years, stopped falling for the first time in seven months.

Also on Friday, the Institute for Supply Management posts its gauge of business activity for June from Chicago.

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