U.S. stock index futures were higher on Friday, with shares of natural resource companies poised to outperform as the U.S. dollar retreated, sending crude oil and other commodities higher.
* S&P 500 futures rose 2.50 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 26 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 5 points.
* But with few economic indicators due Friday, trading volume will likely be light with some profit-taking ahead of the weekend.
* Overseas stock markets were also higher, partly on the back of the optimism fueled by signs of stabilization in U.S. consumer spending and on hopes for Greece.
* The U.S. dollar index <.DXY> slipped 0.2 percent amid speculation that Greece may soon get help in dealing with its fiscal woes, which have fueled unease about the stability of the euro.
* Stocks to watch include Boston Scientific Corp
* Major U.S. banks temporarily lowered debt levels just before reporting results in the past five quarters so it looked like their balance sheets were less risky, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
* The paper said the banks, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc
* The Commerce Department releases wholesale inventories for February at 10 a.m. EDT. Economists forecast inventories to rise by 0.4 percent, versus a drop of 0.1 percent in January.
* Gold rose to three-month highs in Europe, while U.S. front-month crude climbed nearly 1 percent to $86.09 a barrel in electronic trading.
* Expectations grew that Greece may resort to a lifeline from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to help repay its ballooning debt. The euro gained 0.4 percent versus the dollar at $1.3409.
* U.S. stocks gained Thursday after surprisingly strong March retail sales boosted optimism the economic recovery is on track.
* The benchmark S&P 500 <.SPX> has rallied 75.4 percent since hitting bottom in March 2009. Recently it has come up against some formidable resistance in the 1,180 area, while the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> faces key resistance at the 11,000 level -- a point it last surpassed in September 2008.
(Reporting by Ellis Mnyandu; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)