Stock index futures were flat after shares of Citigroup and General Electric posted better-than-expected quarterly results, providing further evidence that the severe U.S, economic downturn could be abating.

General Electric Co reported a 36 percent drop in quarterly profit, as a global recession pounded its hefty finance arm, but the company said the order backlog at its industrial arm remained stable.

Citigroup reported a quarterly per share loss on revenues of $24.8 billion in the first quarter.

The health of the financial sector has been a key concern for investors. The present rally from early March began when several banks said they were profitable in January and February.

Citi's shares rose 16.7 percent to $4.69, while GE rose 5 percent to $12.91 in premarket trade.

GE's earnings came in better than expected and Citigroup's loss was much better than expected, said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vermont.

Investors as far as the financial crisis is concerned are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, he added. The worse of the financial crisis may be behind us and we're not looking over the abyss anymore.

S&P 500 futures were flat 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 rose 26 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 2.5 points.

On Nasdaq, shares of Google , fell slightly in thin volume after rising 5 percent to $408.00 in electronic trading after the market closed on Thursday after the Internet company reported quarterly results that beat estimates.

In other news a bankrupt General Motors Corp could be reorganized in as little as a month, a top bankruptcy attorney said on Thursday, and if the case lingered then a tremendous sinkhole could open in the U.S. economy, a Delaware bankruptcy judge said.

General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson will update the media on the company's restructuring progress in a call to beginning at about 10:15 a.m. on Friday

On the economic front the Reuters/University of Michigan April survey of consumer sentiment, due at 9.55 a.m., is expected to have risen for a second consecutive month to 58.5 from March's 57.3.

U.S. stocks surged on Thursday as expectations of reassuring results from bellwethers, including Google, lifted technology shares, while JPMorgan's better-than-expected profit added to bank stabilization hopes.

(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)