U.S. stock futures pointed to a flat to slightly higher open on Friday, with technology shares likely to underpin gains after a broker upgrade of Intel Corp. , but investors were cautious ahead of key inflation data.
Intel shares rose 1.8 percent to $23.64 in electronic trade after Goldman Sachs raised its rating on the chipmaker, a component of the Dow Jones industrial average , to buy from neutral.
Investors will scrutinize a report on the May U.S. Consumer Price Index due before the bell for further direction.
On Thursday data on May core producer prices, excluding food and energy costs, boosted a view that economic growth continued apace with little threat of inflation, sending U.S. equities higher.
Investors will also keep an eye on speeches by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and several other Fed officials.
If the news from CPI should be favorable then there's a good chance that might give the stock market a boost, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners in New York.
Corporate news this morning seems favorable, but all the market's action is predicated on the CPI, which I think might not be as pleasant as the Street is expecting.
S&P 500 futures were up 0.20 point, 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 were up 5 points while Nasdaq 100 futures were up 2 points.
U.S. consumer prices are expected to have risen 0.6 percent in May, up from a 0.4 percent increase in April. Core CPI is seen up 0.2 percent, the same as April. The data is due at 8.30 a.m. (1230 GMT).
Other stocks to watch include Dell Inc. , a day after the computer maker announced a delay in filing its first-quarter financial report. The stock was up 1.1 percent in Europe.
Dow Jones & Co. could be in focus again after The New York Times reported that the Bancroft family, which controls the Wall Street Journal publisher, has rejected its lawyers' draft of a plan to protect the paper's independence as too timid.
The Bancroft family is weighing a $5 billion takeover offer by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. .
Ben Bernanke is due to address a conference hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta about The Credit Channel of Monetary Policy in the 21st Century at 8.30 a.m. (1230 GMT).
Other data due on Friday [ECI/US] include May industrial production, which is seen rising 0.2 percent, and the Reuters/University of Michigan June preliminary consumer sentiment survey where economists polled by Reuters expect a reading of 88.0 compared with 88.3 in the final May report.
U.S. stocks rose on Thursday as a 2 percent gain in oil prices boosted shares of Exxon Mobil Corp. and other energy companies while data showing moderate inflation lifted optimism about the economy.