Stock index futures edged higher on Friday after Wall Street recorded third straight winning sessions and as investors braced for the start of earnings next week.

* Most of the gains have been spurred by hopes that U.S. corporations will post strong quarterly results as Alcoa Inc kicks off the reporting season on Monday. Shares of the aluminum producer edged up 0.8 percent in premarket trade.

* However, sentiment remained negative going into the Friday session, with many investors concerned the global economy could slip back into recession. Even with gains in the holiday-shortened week that has been characterized by volatility and lagging trading volume, the S&P 500 is still down 12 percent since April.

* We are all holding our breath for earnings season to start, said Kim Caughey, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh. Companies are very well positioned because they're lightly staffed now and are very productive.

* S&P 500 futures rose 1.2 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 up 2 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures adding 0.25 points.

* Data that will be in focus includes U.S. wholesale inventories for May at 10:00 a.m. EDT and the weekly measure of future economic growth by the Economic Cycle Research Institute at 10:30 a.m. Economists in a Reuters poll expected inventories to rise 0.4 percent in May, unchanged from the prior month.

* In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top shares rose 0.6 percent, on track for a fourth straight winning session, with banking shares leading risers.

* The Obama administration was preparing to unveil a revised deepwater oil drilling moratorium after a federal court refused Thursday to reinstate an earlier ban imposed after BP Plc's massive oil spill.

* Europe's EADS put in a formal bid Thursday to build a fleet of U.S. Air Force aerial-refueling planes, challenging Boeing Co again for the politically sensitive deal worth up to $50 billion.

* Google Inc said the Chinese government renewed its license to operate a website, averting a shutdown of its flagship search page in the world's biggest Internet market. Its shares rose 3 percent to $471 in premarket trade.

* Equity funds worldwide suffered more than $11 billion in net outflows in the first week of July, while money market funds saw the biggest inflows in 18 months amid fears of a double-dip recession, fund tracker EPFR Global said.

* Wall Street rose for a third straight day on Thursday as investors were encouraged by a decline in jobless claims and solid sales from a handful of large retailers.

(Reporting by Edward Krudy; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)