Stock index futures rose on Friday, shrugging off a credit rating downgrade of Spain, propelled by strong earnings from Google Inc and hopes the euro zone will continue progress toward a solution to its debt crisis.
Standard and Poor's cut Spain's credit rating on Friday, underlining the challenges facing Europe's finance ministers as they prepare to meet counterparts from the Group of 20 nations over the euro zone debt crisis.
French and German officials, including French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, are trying to put flesh on the bones of a crisis resolution plan in time for a European Union summit on October 23.
That is going to be an important event because you are going to have rumors floating out of there, and that is really where the plan is being put together, I suspect -- Merkel and Sarkozy aren't sitting down doing it, they are having their finance ministers do it, said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vermont.
As we begin to see what this plan looks like, so that is a positive for the market today.
Investors will look for clues into the health of the U.S. consumer on Friday with data on retail sales and consumer confidence. The Commerce Department releases September retail sales at 8:30 a.m., and economists in a Thomson Reuters survey expect a 0.7 percent rise from a flat reading in August. Excluding automobiles, sales are seen up 0.3 percent compared with a 0.1 percent rise in the prior month.
Also at 8:30 a.m., the Labor Department releases import-export prices for September. Economists expect a 0.3 percent drop in imports and a 0.2 percent rise in exports. In the prior month, import prices fell 0.4 percent and export prices rose 0.5 percent.
At 9:55 a.m. the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers releases its preliminary October consumer sentiment index. Economists expect the reading to rise to 60.2 from 59.4 in the final September report.
S&P 500 futures rose 9.2 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 gained 82 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 15.25 points.
China's consumer inflation dipped to 6.1 percent in September, retreating further from three-year highs and easing some concerns about demand in the region a day after data showed the country's trade surplus narrowed.
Aside from Google, technology stocks may also get a boost after Germany's SAP
European shares were higher, as Google's earnings and forecast-beating earnings from Syngenta
Asian equity markets were lower on concerns about sluggish global growth after weaker-than-expected China trade data on Thursday.
The Dow and S&P 500 slipped on Thursday after JPMorgan's earnings and China's soft trade data revived worries about the impact of slower growth on profits.
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)