Stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Friday as a recent spate of improving economic data beckoned investors back into equity markets for a second day.
The International Monetary Fund underscored the sense of improving fundamentals after First Deputy Managing Director John Lipsky said the fund may lift its 2010 growth forecast for the world economy amid signs of moderation in the rate of decline in global output.
The Dow and S&P 500 snapped a three-day losing streak on Thursday as data on the job market and regional manufacturing revived hopes that the recession-hit economy is stabilizing.
Sentiment is improving and a lot of people are taking the bet that the recession is over, said Anthony Conroy, head trader for BNY ConvergEx, an affiliate of the Bank of New York, in New York.
Goldman Sachs gave technology investors a new reason to begin buying after the bank added Microsoft Corp
Shares of software maker Microsoft, a Dow component, rose 2.2 percent to $24.02 in premarket trading.
S&P 500 futures rose 7.90 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 62 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 14.00 points.
Conroy added that the quarterly expiration and settlement of June equity options and futures, a convergence known as quadruple witching, will increase volatility throughout the session, possible pushing indexes higher.
After gaining as much as 40 percent from a 12-year closing low in early March, the S&P 500 has retreated as investors reassessed the potential strength of an economic recovery. Thursday's data revived some optimism, but analysts said real improvement is needed to sustain the rally.
On Thursday, government data showed the number of people staying on jobless benefits fell for the first time since January, while manufacturing in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region contracted much less than expected in June.
After the close on Thursday, Research In Motion issued an outlook that fell short of expectations, sending the stock down 1.2 percent before the bell, even as the company reported a rise in quarterly profit that topped forecasts.
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)