Stock index futures rose on Friday, extending gains that have taken equities near highs not seen since before the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers.

* The S&P has risen for four of the past five days and is up 8.4 percent for the year. Gains have come on the back of improved domestic economic data and signs Europe was making progress in dealing with the sovereign debt crisis.

* European shares rose 0.2 percent on expectations the European Central Bank will offer cheap loans to banks at next week's three-year refinancing operation.

* Banks, a sector closely tied to economic growth prospects, ticked higher in premarket trading. Bank of America Corp was up 1 percent at $8.10, while U.S.-listed shares of Barclays Plc rose 2.2 percent to $15.59.

* S&P 500 futures put on 4.2 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 added 36 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 5.25 points.

* The benchmark S&P 500 index was not far from 1,370, considered the upper end of a technical barrier and a level not since 2008. In the past four sessions, the S&P has hovered around 1,360 and closed at a 9-month high on Thursday.

* The swiftness and magnitude of the gains have some analysts calling for a correction, and weak economic data could serve as a catalyst for a pullback.

* The February Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers will be released at 9:55 a.m. EST (1455 GMT) and is expected at 73 versus 72.5 in the preliminary February report.

* In addition, January new home sales will be released at 10:00 a.m. EST (1500 GMT), and the forecast called for 315,000, compared with 307,000 last month.

* American International Group Inc rallied 7.7 percent to $30.15 in premarket trading a day after reporting fourth-quarter earnings that surged past expectations, helped by a tax benefit.

* late Thursday reported a surge in new business in its most recent quarter. Shares rose 9.7 percent to $144.50.

* J. c. Penney Co Inc , Washington Post Co and Newmont Mining Co were scheduled to report results on Friday.

* According to Thomson Reuters data through Thursday morning, of the 446 in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings, 63 percent topped expectations. That was below the 70 percent average beat in the past four quarters, but slightly above the average of 62 percent since 1994.

* Equities rose on Thursday after data showed the U.S. labor market remained on the mend, but they stalled as the market approached lofty levels.

(Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)