Stock index futures were little changed on Friday before government employment figures that should show if a lackluster recovery has regained speed.
Data at 8:30 a.m. on June U.S. payrolls is expected to show that non-farm employers stepped up hiring as the economy recovered from a recent soft patch, although the increase was unlikely to cut the high U.S. unemployment rate.
Non-farm payrolls are forecast to have risen by 90,000 jobs, according to a Reuters survey conducted last week. In May, employment rose by a paltry 54,000.
Many economists raised their forecasts on Thursday after a stronger-than-expected reading on private hiring from payrolls processor ADP. Those economists now expect gains between 125,000 and 175,000 jobs in the Labor Department's report.
The market rallied yesterday on the good ADP number. Obviously this is a pretty big number and people don't want to take positions -- either long or short -- before the number is announced early this morning, said Cort Gwon, chief strategist at HudsonView Capital Management in New York.
Hopefully yesterday's ADP number was a good indication the economy is coming out of a soft patch and we are going to gain employment momentum again.
S&P 500 futures slipped 0.9 point and were slightly 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 advanced 11 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 2.5 points.
Data also expected on Friday includes wholesale inventories for May at 10 a.m. Economists forecast May inventories to rise 0.7 percent versus a 0.8 percent increase in April.
President Barack Obama told top U.S. lawmakers on Thursday he would not sign a short-term extension of the U.S. debt ceiling and said negotiators would work through the weekend on a deal to avoid a debt default.
European shares rose at midday on speculation U.S. labor data would be strong, overshadowing fears of debt contagion in euro zone peripheral countries. <.EU>
Chinese stocks posted their third consecutive week of gains, with retail investors bargain hunting before June inflation data due on Saturday.
U.S. stocks closed sharply higher and the Nasdaq notched an eighth day of gains on Thursday as improved labor market and retail sales data added to optimism a day before the critical June payrolls report.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Kenneth Barry)