Futures are higher

Stock futures were a bit higher on Friday morning ahead of the market open.

Near 8:35 a.m. ET, Dow futures were up 33 points, S&P 500 futures were up 3 points, and Nasdaq futures were up 4 points, all less than 0.5%.

Yesterday, after trading sideways for much of the morning, stocks rose decisively in the afternoon to take the Dow and S&P 500 up nearly 1%.

The Federal Reserve on Thursday released the Minutes of its September meeting, which showed that most FOMC members are confident that its benchmark rate could be up this year.

Crude oil is sitting above $US50 per barrel, after briefly crossing the level on Thursday. And now, oil is on track for its biggest weekly gain since 2009.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures in New York were up about 1.5% and climbed to as high as $US50.91 per barrel. Earlier this week, Energy Information Administration data projected that US oil output fell by 120,000 barrels a day in September.

We also got news from OPEC; the secretary-general said the 12-member cartel is willing to cooperate with non-members to deal with the supply glut, and projected that demand for its members’ oil will rise more than expected this year.

Around 1:00 p.m. ET, driller Baker Hughes will release its weekly count of US oil and gas rigs. Last week, we saw a renewed slump in the oil rig count as the number of active rigs fell by 25 to 614, a new low since the count topped out last October.

In stocks, Gap shares dropped nearly 8% premarket after the company reported September sales below expectations.

And, Alcoa was down about 2% after kicking off third-quarter earnings season with sales and profits that missed estimates, and a downgraded outlook for its performance in China.

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