Stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Friday on optimism the economic slump is waning, but a reassessment of the recent sharp market run-up could keep gains in check.
* The S&P 500 closed out its best month in nine years, gaining 9.4 percent for April on a rosy outlook for financial institutions and the economy.
* Among companies expected to report earnings are Chevron Corp
* Aon Corp
* On the data front, new orders received by U.S. factories in March are expected to have fallen 0.6 percent from a year earlier after rising 1.8 percent in February, according to the average forecast of 52 economists polled by Reuters.
* Other data on tap for the morning includes readings on the Institute for Supply Management's April manufacturing index and the final look at April consumer sentiment.
* Data is expected to show that U.S. auto sales plunged to their lowest levels in nearly 30 years in April, with automakers expected to post declines of at least 30 percent from a year earlier.
* The U.S. Federal Reserve plans new loans with five-year terms under its Term Asset Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) in a bid to loosen up the commercial real estate market, the Wall Street Journal reported on its website on Thursday.
* S&P 500 futures rose 3.90 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 climbed 33 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 5.50 points.
* Bank of America Corp's
* Shares of Hartford Financial Services Group Inc
* MetLife Inc
* Of the 280 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings to date, 65 percent topped analysts' estimates, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters. However, many of the analysts' estimates had been reduced to reflect the current economic slump.
* The Dow and S&P 500 fell on Thursday after Chrysler's bankruptcy filing undercut optimism about upbeat corporate profits and reassuring job market data.
(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)