By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
U.S. stock futures struggled for direction on Friday, which could cloud chances for the Dow industrials' to mark a new closing high, though a surging dollar was prompting worries about exporters.
The fresh strength in the dollar comes after Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen signaled Thursday that a December interest-rate hike (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/yellen-says-fed-may-hike-interest-rates-relatively-soon-2016-11-17) was likely to go ahead.
Futures pared losses from earlier. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures inched up 4 points to 18,844, while S&P 500 futures flat at 2,184.25. Nasdaq-100 futures rose 4.5 points to 4,833.24.
Wall Street finished a wobbly session slightly higher after Yellen's remarks on Thursday. The Dow ended up 0.2% at 18,903.82, just 20 points short of the all-time closing high, set Tuesday.
Need to know:The S&P 500 is also getting ever-so-close to a record (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/a-trump-trade-war-why-goldman-thinks-investors-shouldnt-believe-the-hype-2016-11-18)
On Friday, the ICE Dollar Index (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dollar-busts-past-110-for-the-first-time-in-months-2016-11-18) , which measures the currency against a basket of six rivals, shot above 100 to a fresh 13-year high . The greenback was trading at levels not seen in months against the Japanese yen .
"In a high-growth environment, it is likely we will see investors moving into the U.S. as a source of capital appreciation," said Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG, in a note to clients.
"However, the hesitancy seen in U.S. stock markets is a clear nod to the fact that with such dollar appreciation comes an environment which is progressively more difficult for U.S. exporters," he added.
In a continuation of Thursday's action, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose 1 basis point to 2.31%.
Fed speakers ahead: Investors might look for guidance from more policy makers on Friday. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said at a conference in Frankfurt that he's leaning towards the likelihood of an interest-rate hike in December, according to a report from CNBC (http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/18/feds-bullard-says-hes-leaning-toward-supporting-a-december-rate-hike.html).
Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan will speak at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time in Houston, while Kansas City Fed President Esther George is set to talk at the Dallas Fed at 9:30 p.m. Eastern.
Also on the docket is Fed governor Jerome Powell, who is scheduled to appearat the San Francisco Fed at 9:45 p.m. Eastern.
The only major data release of note on Friday is a report on leading indicators, due at 10 a.m. Eastern.
Stocks to watch: Abercrombie & Fitch Co.(ANF) shares slid 10% in premarket as profit dived and the company announced a re-branding (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/abercrombie-fitch-profit-tumbles-as-it-rebrands-2016-11-18). Foot Locker Inc.(FL) also fell after it announced results (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/foot-locker-beats-profit-expectations-while-sales-match-2016-11-18).
Salesforce.com Inc.(CRM) rose 8% in premarket after the cloud-computing company posted rising revenue and boosted its outlook (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/salesforce-posts-rising-revenue-lifts-outlook-2016-11-17-1948519). But shares of Applied Materials Inc.(AMAT) fell in after-hours trading after the chip-equipment maker missed expectations for new orders (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/applied-materials-profit-up-21-new-orders-miss-2016-11-17).
Read:Salesforce sets finish line in race to $10 billion (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/salesforce-sets-finish-line-in-race-to-10-billion-2016-11-17)
Gap Inc.(GPS) slid 6% in premarket after the retailer posted a weak outlook. late Thursday. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gap-shares-fall-on-weak-outlook-2016-11-17)
Other markets: European stocks (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/banks-commodity-stocks-slide-put-pressure-on-european-markets-2016-11-18) pulled back slightly on Friday, led by banking and commodity names. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ecbs-draghi-signals-stimulus-will-be-extended-2016-11-18) signaled Friday that the central bank's stimulus will be extended for the region, whose economy remains clouded by risks.
Asian markets (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-markets-rise-nikkei-hits-10-month-high-in-intraday-trading-2016-11-17) had a mixed day, though yen weakness gave a boost to the Nikkei 225 index , which rose 0.6%.
The dollar's move higher took a toll on gold (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-slides-toward-1200-as-us-rate-hike-looks-imminent-2016-11-18) , which dropped $11.80, or 1%, to $1,205.30 an ounce. Oil (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-stumbles-on-dollar-strength-lack-of-faith-in-opec-output-deal-2016-11-18) slipped 11 cents to $45.28 a barrel.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 18, 2016 07:52 ET (12:52 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2016 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.