Stock index futures rose on Friday following encouraging data out of China and as a two-year high in the S&P 500 had investors betting on a year-end rally.
A slew of data showed China's imports and exports jumped in November, bank lending topped forecasts and property investment powered ahead. As well, China increased the reserve requirement for banks but kept interest rates on hold.
The move was a milder form of monetary tightening after expectations that China could raise rates to rein in its red-hot economy, though a rate hike was still possible.
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Netflix rose 5.2 percent to $201.00 in premarket trading, F5 climbed 4.6 percent to $145.30 and Newfield Exploration gained 4.8 percent to $73.37.
Stocks closed slightly higher Thursday, with the S&P 500 ending at a two-year high, a trend investors expect to continue through the rest of the year. The Nasdaq closed at its highest level since December 2007.
Andre Bakhos, director of market analytics at Lek Securities in New York, said investors were optimistic the recent surge in financials could help propel the market higher.
After lagging the rally in September and October, the S&P financial index <.GSPF> has jumped 8.1 percent since the beginning of the month.
Investors have waited for financials to join the party, and we are now starting to see that, said Bakhos.
S&P 500 futures rose 4.9 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 gained 25 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures added 7.75 points.
The S&P closed above 1,228, a resistance level that represents the 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement of the 2007-2009 bear market slide, a key technical level that has proven to be an obstacle in recent sessions.
On the data front, international trade data for October is due at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT) and is forecast a $43.6 billion deficit, compared with a $44 billion deficit in September.
Preliminary December consumer sentiment index is also on tap at 9:55 a.m. EST (1455 GMT) with a reading of 72.5 expected, compared with 71.6 in the final November report.
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A tentative compromise between U.S. President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans to extend tax breaks hit opposition from prominent Democrats, but failed to rattle investors Thursday.
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)