Stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Friday after the previous day's big move up as data showed retail sales posted their biggest gain since March.

A rally in Europe and another strong outlook from a technology company also helped boost the market following a very volatile week.

Major indexes soared 4 percent on Thursday, the fourth day in a row the S&P ended with a move of more than 4 percent. The index has fallen for 11 of the past 14 days.

U.S. retail sales in July climbed 0.5 percent, in line with forecasts, while sales, excluding autos, increased 0.5 percent, well above forecasts.

What traders are looking for is how companies will be able to sustain earnings growth in this environment, and they can't do that without consumers spending money, said Todd Schoenberger, managing director at LandColt Trading in Wilmington, Delaware. This data shows that consumers are still spending, and that's very encouraging.

S&P 500 futures rose 7.6 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 90 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 13.25 points.

European shares rose nearly 3 percent following the short-selling ban on financial shares by France, Italy, Spain and Belgium and as European Central Bank data eased fears some banks faced liquidity issues.

Nvidia Corp could help technology stocks after it forecast a larger-than-expected jump in quarterly revenue late Thursday. In premarket trading Nvidia rose 11 percent to $14.94.

Nvidia's results came after similarly bullish comments from Cisco Systems Inc on Wednesday. Strong outlooks from technology companies are considered a bullish sign, implying increased business spending ahead.

J.C. Penney Co Inc reported flat second-quarter earnings but forecast continued sales gains in the third quarter. The stock slid 2.7 percent to $26.10 before the bell.

The more companies that are positive about how they might do over the next six months, the more confidence investors will have that the price they're paying for stocks is fair, said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in New York. Having companies project solid sales in the coming year will be a big part of this market moving back forward.

The preliminary August Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers sentiment index will be released at 9:55 a.m. EDT, and is seen at 63 versus 63.7 in the previous month.

While bargain hunting spurred Thursday's strong gains, many traders still looked for a bottom in the market.

(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)